DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY SEVENTH ANNUAL LSO WORKSHOP
By: Wes Marshall, Laser Safety Specialties
The Department of Energy (DOE) sponsored an advanced workshop for Laser Safety Officers (LSOs) hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts, and it was another success story for the DOE. The DOE annual LSO workshop continues to be the premier meeting for LSOs in the U.S. In these times of economic turmoil, this workshop continues to be a cost effective opportunity for all laser safety professionals, regardless of their affiliation, to stay abreast of the latest changes in standards, procedures, and the state of the art technology. The meeting facilities were within easy walking distance of nearby hotels, coffee shops, and places of interest, providing a relaxed atmosphere in a college setting. The workshop included speakers from across the country, each expert in their field, discussing topics crucial to laser safety. Subjects ranged from proposed changes to maximum permissible laser exposure limits, to the inner workings of chillers used to rid lasers of unwanted heat, to innovative broad spectrum eye protection with high luminous transmission.
Three mini-workshops were held during lunch on the first day of the conference: one concerning the Board of Laser Safety and the professional certification process, and the other two concerning laser safety software. These workshops were popular and well attended (not just because lunch was provided for the attendees). The workshops provided a learning opportunity for laser safety officers to interact with those providing hazard evaluation software or certification opportunities. Numerous questions were raised and answered during the LAZAN workshop, resulting in modification of the software to better meet the needs of those using it. A free upgrade is now available for those using the LAZAN 5 Premium software.
Two social events were well attended. A baseball game featuring the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians, located in nearby Fenway Park, was well attended on the second day of the conference. On the third day, the MIT museum, with all its numerous exhibits, was open to all workshop attendees with free admission and plenty of food (featuring international selections) and drink to satisfy the most demanding pallet. Both of these events not only provided a relaxing end to the day but provided additional networking opportunities.
The conference was not lacking in providing refreshments during scheduled breaks and included breakfast. On the second day of the workshop, sponsors and vendors were available at the exhibit booths, during breaks, for attendees to discuss the characteristics of new products and interact directly with the vendors providing those products. The conference provided an opportunity to take the certification exam from the Board of Laser Safety (BLS) on the last afternoon of the conference. Continuing education units were also provided, recognized by the BLS, the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the American Board of Industrial Hygiene, and the Health Physics Society.