BLS News & Review
Volume 4, Number 3
In This Issue
Board of Laser Safety
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Last month I attended the 6th Annual Laser Safety Officers Workshop hosted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in Berkeley, California and spearheaded by Ken Barat. The workshop promised “presentations on topics not found in standard laser safety training and solutions to real-world laser safety issues.”
The workshop certainly delivered with its invited papers (the opening presentation by Professor Charles Townes was one of the highlights of the meeting), panel discussions (which allowed attendees to raise questions and examine best practices), mini-workshop sessions on laser hazard software (attendees sought answers to their problems and manufacturers received direct user feedback), and countless opportunities for networking (including a tour of the Advanced Light Source). An overview of the workshop follows.
Along with the laser hazard software vendors, the BLS hosted a mini-workshop session. This was an opportunity for those interested in becoming certified to ask questions to the CLSOs in attendance, in addition to receiving basic information on the certification process. From my perspective, the session went extremely well – the interaction was phenomenal (and the pizza was enjoyed by all).
To those who were in attendance, it was great to see you. I wish I had more time to spend with each of you. To those who were not able to attend, I’m sorry you missed the event and hope you will be able to join us at the International Laser Safety Conference next March. As one of our newer CLSOs stated, “Meeting other CLSOs and the development of new relationships with some of those folks was the greatest benefit to participating in the workshop for me.”
Bob Sarason said it best during the BLS session, “We’re like family…”
Profile of CLSO/CMLSO
On Charles Townes:
“Workshop attendees got an extra bonus when Dr. Charles Townes (below) shared his perspective on the importance (laser) research has made to the advancement of our nations science and technology.”
“Having Charles Townes as the kick-off speaker really set the stage - WOW!”
“I thought it was great that Dr. Townes was the keynote speaker. What an honor to hear him relate his experiences to us!”
“This year was especially memorable since Dr. Charles Townes was the plenary speaker. His talk was interesting not only from a historical aspect but inspirational as well. He recalled when the idea on how to make lasers work came to him. He was sitting on a park bench watching the pigeons when the light bulb went on. He immediately got out his pencil and paper and started writing notes. Shortly after that he showed his thoughts to his friend, Niels Bohr (yes The Niels Bohr ) who doubted that it would work at all. Just a great story, he told others as well. Where else would you get a chance to meet such an important figure in the history of lasers?”
“A couple of my favorite presentations this year were ‘The Personal Laser Injury Story’ and ‘Human Performance Improvement’… this presentation was far more powerful than reading an accident report could ever be. The talk on human performance improvement gave a compelling view of how to get and keep workers working safely.”
“A memorable moment for me was when a LBNL researcher shared a personal experience – his laser eye injuries. This account was very impactful for me as a laser safety officer - getting a first-hand perspective on the experience and an injured worker’s take on what went wrong and how to avoid similar events in the future.”
“Some [topics] of interest to me were Terahertz radiation, white light lasers and the personal laser injury story by Nicholas Matlis.”
“Nicholas' talk about his laser eye injuries was interesting because his story is so typical about what really goes on with laser users. Also, I found Thomas' [Fröhlich] presentation about decoding the international markings on laser eyewear informative. I really enjoyed the presentation by the veterinarian who uses lasers for animal surgery.”
“The presentations that I felt had great value were: accident reviews and testimonials from injured persons; lasers in veterinary medicine presentation detailing operations involving CO2 and Nd:YAG lasers – most LSOs I know are involved in R&D and industrial environments. The opportunity to understand medical uses of lasers in greater detail was compelling. I would actually like to see more medical-style presentations in future workshops (note – come to ILSC and experience the first-ever Medical Practical Applications Seminar); various presentations on laser involvements in breakthrough physics, including NIF, allowed me to better understand how lasers will be vital in development of new power plants and other life sciences; and the FAA presentation revealed startling details on the increasing frequency of laser incidents involving aircraft and what is being done to curtail that activity.”
The Workshop as a Whole:
“The Annual LSO Workshop feels like a reunion – bringing together a bunch of folks with whom you really enjoy hanging out – exchanging worries and solutions and sharing best practices. The networking opportunities abound at the LSO workshop – plenty of time to set aside for visiting with your peers from other national laboratories, from industry and from the universities.”
“The opportunity to renew old acquaintances and make new ones is very important to me. It’s not often us laser safety geeks get a chance to talk with others about issues in our profession we have in common.”
“I really enjoyed the workshop as a whole. Not only was it a wonderful time to catch up with friends and colleagues from near and a far, I thought Ken's line up of speakers was a diverse mix and kept the conference interesting.”
“Overall I thought the 2010 Annual Laser Safety Officer Workshop was a huge success. Every year I am amazed at the many new faces that I see in attendance.”
“The conference gave us a glimpse into our future as Laser Safety Officers, what we could expect in the next 8 or so years. What problems we could face as safety professionals as lasers become more powerful and faster, terawatt lasers, attosecond lasers or complex, white light lasers, desk top linear accelerators. I’m betting that not many if any people at your work place talk laser safety, here at the workshop we all did. It’s a place where people understand what you are talking about, who actually care and have faced the same or similar issues. It’s a place where old friends get together with new friends to talk laser safety like nobody else does at your workplace. A place to meet the vendors who display their wares with finger food and refreshments; a chance to view the latest in laser safety innovations and potentially discuss problems with the experts in the field of eyewear or laser safety gadgets.”
“Next year I’d say ‘Be there or be left behind in its wake’.”
At the 2009 Health Physics Society meeting in Minneapolis, Dr. David Sliney received the Distinguished Achievement Award. During his acceptance speech, he noted that “there didn’t seem to be many papers on non-ionizing topics, including laser safety.” His comments inspired several CLSOs to consider ways to increase the number of laser safety presentations at the next HPS meeting.
Fast-forward to June 2010, the BLS mounted a concerted effort to increase the profile of laser safety at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Health Physics Society. CLSOs Myungchul Jo and Dewey Sprague organized and chaired the Board of Laser Safety Special Session, the first ever at an HPS meeting. The session featured the following four invited presentations by CLSOs:
CLSOs also conducted three Professional Enrichment Program (PEP) two-hour classes on various aspects of laser safety and optical radiation safety, which were all well attended and reviewed.
In addition, two related laser safety presentations were given in the Accelerator Section Special Session I – Light Sources and FELs.
“The BLS Special Session ranked very well in attendance” stated Ben Edwards, HPS Program Committee member and 2010 Task Force Chair. “We had the largest laser safety footprint in years, in terms of numbers of presentations and short courses.”
In the last issue of the BLS News & Review, we told you to “mark your calendars” for the 2011 International Laser Safety Conference, March 14-17 in San Jose, Calif. Starting with this issue, conference updates will be provided so you can plan accordingly.
As Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) Z136 members know, ancillary meetings abound at ILSC (more on that below). In addition to the conference, and ASC Z136 and IEC TC76 ancillary meetings, the LIA will hold a medical laser safety officer course the weekend prior to the conference (March 12-13). This will give interested MLSOs the opportunity to attend the course and then stay for the Medical Practical Applications Seminar (March 14-15).
The BLS will offer a “pencil and paper” exam opportunity following the MLSO course (the afternoon of March 13) and will host an appreciation and/or recruitment event sometime during the week. The BLS is proud to be a cooperating society of ILSC 2011 and, as such, all active status CLSOs and CMLSOs will receive LIA membership pricing on program registration.
Don’t forget that one CM point will be given for each day of attendance, in addition to any CM points earned for presenting at the conference.
The 2011 annual meeting of ASC Z136 will be held on Sunday, March 13, 2011 in conjunction with the International Laser Safety Conference in San Jose, Calif. In accordance with ASC Z136 Procedures, this meeting is open to “…all members and others having a direct and material interest” in the activities of the committee. If you would like to attend as an observer, please contact Barbara Sams at the LIA, 407-380-1553 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the annual meeting, ancillary meetings for Z136 subcommittees and IEC TC76 working groups will be scheduled during the week of March 14-18.
A meetings list will be published closer to ILSC for planning purposes.
The Laser Institute of America would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on obtaining your certification and invite you to become a member of the LIA. Membership in a laser safety related professional or technical organization or society earns valuable certification maintenance (CM) points, with a maximum of 3 CM points total for the term (1 CM point given per year of membership).
Start earning your certification maintenance (CM) points today at the special LIA membership rate for CLSOs and CMLSOs – 3 years for $235!
Maintaining certification is an important and vital part of becoming a CLSO or CMLSO. As the industry and technology changes, so must the knowledge of a CLSO and CMLSO. One way to keep abreast of the current technology is by utilizing these LIA membership benefits, among others:
Sign up now to take advantage of this special membership offer, only available to CLSOs and CMLSOs. Complete and return the provided LIA membership application today.
For a complete listing of CM Points categories, go to www.lasersafety.org and choose certification maintenance or refer to your Certification Maintenance Manual.
Another resource for approved articles:
PubMed Central (PMC) is a free digital archive of biomedical and life science journals, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/
Search for “laser”, Search all articles
Remember too that published magazine or newsletter submissions (print or online) will be accepted at a ½ CM point per article. Contributions to the BLS News & Review are welcome!