LIA revises ANSI Z136.1 laser safety standard

Orlando, FL - New maximum permissible exposure limits (MPEs), new definitions, and newly rewritten sections are among the main highlights of the just-revised parent standard for laser safety, the ANSI Z136.1-2014.

Related: Latest version of ANSI standard for laser safety in manufacturing

Updated for the first time in the last seven years, the new American National Standard for Safe Use of Lasers will be available through the Laser Institute of America (LIA), secretariat of the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) Z136, which develops the laser safety standards. The ANSI Z136.1 standard guides the safe use of lasers and laser systems by defining control measures for the seven laser hazard classifications.

According to Ben Rockwell, chairman of ASC Z136 Standards Subcommittee 1 (SSC-1), who has chaired the LIA’s International Laser Safety Conference (ILSC) several times, highlights of the standard include:

  • 19 new definitions of key terms, including administrative control measure, beam divergence, beam waist, saturable absorption, and visible luminous transmission;
  • A significant increase in allowed exposure levels for wavelengths between 1.2 µm and 1.4 µm, and a slight decrease in exposure limits for pulses shorter than approximately 10 µs;
  • An updated section on “special qualifications” for medical-related exposures to include MPEs expressed in terms of illuminance;
  • Rearranged Section 4 (Control Measures) and rewritten Section 7 (Non-beam Hazards) to increase comprehension;
  • Examples involving new exposure limits added to Appendix B;
  • Vertical standards—Z136.2 through Z136.9—now take precedence over this document within the scope of those standards; and
  • The degradation of optics transmission in the UV and NIR is now included in the analysis of hazard classification of lasers.

To obtain the newly revised ANSI Z136.1 standard, please visit

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