Page top

Lead Contents

Safety Standards for Laser Beams

The laser beams that are emitted from lasers have a high power density and can cause damage to the human body, even if the quantity of light is small. In Japan, in order to prevent injury to users of laser products, a Japanese Industrial Standard, Radiation Safety Standards for Laser Products (JIS C 6802), has been established. It is based on the corresponding International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard.
The JIS C 6802 standard divides laser products into different classes according to the degree of the hazard, and specifies the required safety measures for each class.
An overview of the classifications is given on the below.

Primary Contents

Class Overview of hazard evaluation
Class 1 Laser products that are safe under any reasonably foreseeable operating conditions, even when viewed with
loupes, binoculars, or other optical viewing instruments. Laser products that emit visible light may still produce
dazzling visual effects.
Class 1M Laser products that are safe under any reasonably foreseeable operating conditions when viewed with the
naked eye. Under certain conditions, the use of optical instruments may result in eye injury.
Class 1C Laser products that are safe for direct laser irradiation of body tissue other than the eye area for medical
and beauty care applications.
The emitted laser beam may be on the level of Class 3R, 3B, or 4 and there is potential danger to the target tissue.
Class 2 Laser products that are normally safe for momentary exposure due to the protection afforded eyes by aversion
reactions, such as blinking, but that can be dangerous if someone deliberately looks into the beam. Caution is
required for visual impairments caused by residual images or reflection actions caused by surprise.
Class 2M Same as Class 2 for the naked eye: Laser products that are normally safe for momentary exposure due to the
protection afforded eyes by aversion reactions, such as blinking, but that can be dangerous if someone
deliberately looks into the beam.
Caution is required for visual impairments caused by residual images or reflection actions caused by surprise.
Under certain conditions, the use of optical instruments may result in eye injury.
Class 3R The risk of injury is less than Class 3B for direct intrabeam exposure. Intentional ocular exposure is
dangerous. Caution is required for visual impairments caused by residual images or reflection actions caused
by surprise.
Class 3B Even accidental short-term ocular exposure to the beam is normally dangerous. Under certain conditions,
minor skin injury or combustion of flammable materials is possible.
Class 4 Intrabeam viewing and skin exposure are dangerous. There is also a risk of fire.

Laser Classifications

The safety standards for laser beams are different for each country and region. The definitions for laser classifications in Europe and the United States are described below.

Europe (EN 60825-1)

The classification standards set forth in European Standard EN 60825-1:2014 is consistent with the JIS standard C6802:2014.
You should always check the original text of the standard when trying to attain conformance.

USA

* The following information was edited by OMRON based on the actual standard. OMRON assumes no responsibility for this information. You should always check the original text of the standard before implementing an actual application.
* Filing is required for laser products for the USA. Select products that have been filed with the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration).
* Currently the USA is preparing to adopt the IEC 60825-1 international standard, which was harmonized between the EU and JIS. During the provisional period, the classifications and labeling of IEC will be approved (Laser Notice No.50). For details refer to Laser Notice No.50 and to the IEC Standards.
Some OMRON products are classified by the standards given in Laser Notice No.50. Others are classified by the FDA standards.

Description of FDA classification definition
Class I Considered nonhazardous.
Class IIa Products that have emissions in the visible spectrum (400 to 710 nm) and that are nonhazardous for viewing
durations up to 1,000 s. Viewing for longer than 1,000 s presents the risk of chronic visual impairment.
Class II Products that have emissions in the visible spectrum and that have an emission power of more than 1 mW for
continuous discharge of more than 0.25 s. Viewing the laser beam presents the risk of chronic visual
impairment.
Class IIIa Products that have emissions in the visible spectrum and that have an emission power of more than 5 mW for
continuous discharge of more than 0.38 ms. Irradiance presents the risk of acute or chronic visual impairment
resulting from viewing the beam. Directly viewing the laser beam with an optical instrument presents the risk
of acute visual impairment.
Class IIIb Products that emit laser beams of any wavelengths, for example products that emit visible light with an
emission power of 5 to 500 mW. Direct contact with the light beam presents the risk of acute visual
impairment or skin damage.
Class IV Products that exceed the limits of Class IIIb and that present a risk for visual impairment or skin damage for
scattered (diffuse) reflection as well as for direct exposure.

Measures for the Prevention of Damage due to Laser Beams

Regarding labor using lasers, the Industrial Safety and Health Law sets out specific details of safety measures for laser equipment that are classified as Class 3R or higher in Measures for the Prevention of Damage due to Laser Beams. The following table gives the criteria for the measures by each class.

Measure (item only) Measure Class of laser equipment
4 3B 3R 2M 1M
Appointment of a laser device
manager
Appoint an individual with sufficient knowledge
and experience regarding the prevention of
damage due to laser beams and the handling
of laser equipment.
Yes Yes Yes
Controlled area (signs and restricted
area)
Partition from other areas, indicate the
partition with signs, and prohibit entry to
unauthorized personnel.
Yes Yes
Laser
equip-
ment
Path of
laser
beam
Position of
path
Avoid eye level of the operator. Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Appropriate
design and
blocking of
path
Keep the path as short as possible, minimize
the number of bends, avoid intersections of
light with pathways, and block light paths as
much as possible.
Yes Yes Yes
Proper
termination
Terminate with diffuse reflection objects or
light absorbing objects that have appropriate
reflectance and heat resistance.
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Key control Use a construction where operation is
enabled by key or similar means.
Yes Yes
Emer-
gency
stop
switches,
etc.
Emergency
stop switches
Provide an emergency stop switch that can
be used to immediately stop laser-beam
emission.
Yes Yes
Warning system Provide a warning system with features that
allow easy confirmation, such as indicators
that light automatically.
Yes Yes Yes
Shutter Provide the emission aperture with a shutter
to prevent accidental emission.
Yes Yes
Interlock system, etc. Ensure that laser-beam emission is stopped
automatically when the controlled area
becomes accessible or the beam patch is
unblocked.
Yes Yes
Indication of emission
aperture
Indicate the laser-beam emission aperture. Yes Yes Yes
Work
man-
agement,
etc.
Operating position Perform control of laser equipment from a
position as far away as possible form the
laser-beam path.
Yes
Adjustment of optical
system
Use the minimum amount of power that is
required when adjusting the optical system.
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Protec-
tive
equip-
ment
Protective
glasses
Wear protective glasses appropriate for the
type of laser used.
Yes Yes Yes
Protective
clothing
Wear clothing that allows only minimum skin
exposure.
Yes Yes
Use of flame-
retardant
materials
Wear clothing made of flame-retardant
materials. Synthetic fibers that melt and
become sphere-shaped are unsuitable.
Yes
Inspections and
maintenance
Perform inspections before operation and
regular inspections and adjustments at fixed
intervals.
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Safety and health
education
Provide training when taking on new
personnel, and when changing the work
procedure or the laser equipment.
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Health-
care
Examinations
of anterior
ocular segment
Administer cornea and lens examinations
together with eyesight examinations when
taking on or transferring personnel.
Yes Yes Yes
Examinations
of the ocular
fundus
Administer ocular-fundus examinations
together with eyesight examinations when
taking on or transferring personnel.
Yes
Others Notifica-
tion
Supervisor's
name
Provide notification of the laser-equipment
supervisor's name.
Yes Yes Yes
Level of the
hazard
indication
Provide notification regarding the risks and
harmful effects of laser beams, as well as
handling precautions in an obvious location.
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Installation Provide signs that indicate the presence of
laser-equipment.
Yes Yes
High voltage display Provide indication of high voltages and
implement measures for preventing electric
shock.
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Prohibi-
tion of
hazard-
ous
objects
In controlled
areas
Prohibit explosive and flammable substances. Yes
Close to path
of laser beam
Prohibit explosive and flammable substances. Yes Yes
Hazardous gases and dusts Implement the measures prescribed by the
Industrial Safety and Health Law.
Yes Yes
Examination and treatment
of personnel with
suspected laser-related
injury by medical
professional
Make it possible for personnel with suspected
laser-related injury to be examined and
treated quickly by a medical professional.
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Standards for Europe

Laser Classifications and Requirements

Europe (EN 60825-1)

* The following information was edited by OMRON based on the actual standard. OMRON assumes no responsibility for this information. You should always check the original text of the standard before implementing an actual application.

Requirement Classification
Class 1 Class 1M Class 2 Class 2M Class 3R Class 3B Class 4
Description of
hazard class
Safe under
reasonably
foreseeable
conditions.
As for Class
1 except may
be hazardous
if user
employs
optics.
Low power;
eye protec-
tion normally
afforded by
aversion
responses.
As for Class
2 except may
be hazardous
if user
employs
optics.
Direct
intrabeam
viewing may
be hazardous.
Direct
intrabeam
viewing
normally
hazardous.
High power;
diffuse
reflections
may be
hazardous.
Protective
housing
Required for
build-in laser
products.
Required for each laser product; limits access except when necessary for performance
of functions of the products.
Access panel
safety
interlock
Designed to prevent removal of the panel until accessible
emission values are below that for Class 3R.
Designed to prevent removal of the panel
until accessible emission values are below
that for Class 3B or 3R.
Remote
interlock
connector
Not required. Permits easy addition of
external interlock in laser
installation.
Manual reset Not required. Manual reset
is required
when power
is interrupted
or a remote
interlock is
activated.
Key control Not required. Laser inoperative when key
is removed.
Laser emission
warning
Not required. Gives audible or visible warning when laser
is switched on or if capacitor bank of
pulsed laser is being charged. For Class 3R
only, applies if invisible radiation is emitted.
Beam stop or
attenuator
Not required. Gives means to temporarily
block beam.
Controls Not required. Controls so located that there is no
danger of exposure to accessible emission
limit above Class 1 or 2 when adjustments
are made or operation is performed.
Viewing optics Not required. Emissions from all observation system must be below the accessible
emission limits of Class 1M.
Scanning
safeguard
Lasers must not exceed their assigned laser class even if scan failures occur.
Class label Required wording. Figures A and B and required wording.
Aperture label Not required. Specified wording required.
Service entry
label
Not required. Required as appropriate to the class of accessible radiation.
Labels for
safety
interlocked
panels
Required under certain conditions as appropriate to the class of laser used.
Warning for
visible and
invisible laser
radiation
Required for certain wavelength ranges.
Information for
the user
Operation manuals must contain instructions for safe use. Additional requirements apply for Class 1M
and Class 2M.
Purchasing and
servicing
information
Promotion brochures must specify product classification; service manuals must contain safety
information.

Note:
1. The above table is a summarization of the basic requirements. You should always check the original text of the standard to understand and apply the actual standards.
2. Laser equipment used for healthcare applications are subject to IEC 60601-2-22.
3. Refer to IEC TR 60825-14 for a user's guide for laser products.

Standards for the USA

Laser Manufacturer Requirements

Conformance Guide for FDA Laser Products (April 2013)

(If you file with the FDA based on Laser Notice No.50, implement measures according to the IEC standards (same as the EN standards) and not according to the standards in this table.)

* The following information was edited by OMRON based on the actual standard. OMRON assumes no responsibility for this information. You should always check the original text of the standard before implementing an actual application.

Requirement Laser Class *1
Class I Class IIa Class II Class IIIa Class IIIb Class IV
Capability (all laser products)
Protective
housing
Required. *2 Required. *2 Required. *2 Required. *2 Required. *2 Required. *2
Safety interlocks Required.
*3 *4
Required.
*3 *4
Required.
*3 *4
Required.
*3 *4
Required.
*3 *4
Required.
*3 *4
Location of
controls
Exception Required. Required. Required. Required.
Limits on optics
for observation
Required. Required. Required. Required. Required. Required.
Scanning
safeguard
Required. Required. Required. Required. Required. Required.
Operation and performance (laser system)
Remote interlock
connector
Exception Exception Exception Exception Required. Required.
Key control Exception Exception Exception Exception Required. Required.
Laser radiation
emission indicator
Exception Exception Required. Required. Required. *10 Required. *10
Beam attenuator Exception Exception Required. Required. Required. Required.
Manual reset
mechanism
Exception Exception Exception Exception Exception Required. *13
Operation and performance (products for a specific purpose)
Medical laser
products
Same
requirements
as other
products in
same class.
Same
requirements
as other
products in
same class.
Same
requirements
as other
products in
same class.
Same
requirements
as other
products in
same class *8.
Same
requirements
as other
products in
same class *8.
Same
requirements
as other
products in
same class *8.
Surveying,
leveling, and
alignment laser
products
Same
requirements
as other
products in
same class.
Same
requirements
as other
products in
same class.
Same
requirements
as other
products in
same class.
Same
requirements
as other
products in
same class.
Prohibited. Prohibited.
Demonstration
laser products
Same
requirements
as other
products in
same class.
Same
requirements
as other
products in
same class.
Same
requirements
as other
products in
same class.
Same
requirements
as other
products in
same class.
Same
requirements
as other
products in
same class *11.
Same
requirements
as other
products in
same class *11.
Labelling (all laser products)
Tests for
determination of
compliance
Required. Required. Required. Required. Required. Required.
Protective
housing
Depends on
the internal
radiation level
*5.
Required. *5 Required. *5 Required. *5 Required. *5 Required. *5
Aperture Exception Exception Required. Required. Required. Required.
Class warning Exception Required. *6 Required. *7 Required. *9 Required. *12 Required. *12
Information (all laser products)
Information for
the user
Required. Required. Required. Required. Required. Required.
Product
documentation
Exception Required. Required. Required. Required. Required.
Servicing
information
Required. Required. Required. Required. Required. Required.

*1. Depends on the maximum possible exposure level during operation.
*2. Required for human exposure to laser radiation exceeding Class I other than radiation required for product functions.
*3. Required of a protective structure that can be opened during operation or maintenance when human exposure is never necessary while the structure is open.
*4. Interlock requirements depend on the internal emission class.
*5. The warning text depends on the laser emission level within the structure and on the wavelengths.
*6. Label with warning text.
*7. Logotype for CAUTION.
*8. An instrument to measure the laser emission level for intentional human radiation.
*9. "CAUTION" for 2.5 mW/cm2 and "DANGER" for over 2.5 mW/cm2.
*10. A time delay is required between emission display and emission.
*11. Variance (21 CFR 1010.4) approval is required for demonstration lasers or light shows for Class IIIb or IV.
*12. DANGER logotype.
*13. Required from August 20, 1986.

Main Laser Product Classifications

JIS/IEC/EN FDA Product name Model
Class
category
Class category
Class 1 Class 1 (Laser Notice No.50) Laser-type Smart Sensors ZX2-LD50V
Class II ZX-LT001/030
Class II ZX-LT005/010
Class 1 (Laser Notice No.50) CMOS Laser Sensors with Built-in Digital
Amplifiers
ZX0-LD50A[]L/LD100A[]L/
LD300A[]L/LD600A[]L
Class 1 (Laser Notice No.50) CMOS Laser Displacement Sensors with
Built-in Digital Amplifiers
ZX1-LD50A[]L/LD100A[]L/
LD300A[]L/LD600A[]L
Class II Photoelectric Sensors with Separate Digital
Amplifiers (Laser-type Amplifier Units)
E3C-LR12
Class 1 (Laser Notice No.50) Photoelectric Sensors with Built-in Amplifiers
(Laser-type Amplifier Units)
E3Z-LR
E3Z-LT
E3Z-LL
Class II Smart Laser CCD Micrometer Sensors ZX-GT[][]S
Class 1 (Laser Notice No.50) CMOS-type Smart Laser Heads E3NC-SH100/250
Smart Laser Heads E3NC-LH01
E3NC-LH02
E3NC-LH03
Class I Safety Laser Scanners OS32C
Class 2 Class II Laser-type Smart Sensors ZS-HLDS[]
Class II Smart Sensors (2D CMOS Laser Type) ZS-LD[][]
Class 2 (Laser Notice No.50) Laser-type Smart Sensors ZX2-LD[]/ZX2-LD[]L
Class II ZX-LD[]
Class 2 (Laser Notice No.50) CMOS Laser Sensors with Built-in Digital
Amplifiers
ZX0-LD50A[]/LD100A[]/
LD300A[]/LD600A[]
CMOS Laser Displacement Sensors with
Built-in Digital Amplifiers
ZX1-LD50A[]/LD100A[]/
LD300A[]/LD600A[]
Class II Photoelectric Sensors with Separate Digital
Amplifiers (Laser-type Amplifier Units)
E3C-LD11/21/31
Class II E3C-LR11
Class 2 (Laser Notice No.50) CMOS-type Smart Laser Heads E3NC-SH250H
Class 2 (Laser Notice No.50) Laser-type Installed Bar Code Readers V500-R521[][]
Class 2 (Laser Notice No.50) Laser-type Bar Code Readers V500-R2[][]
No application filed. Laser Micrometers 3Z4L-S5[][]RV3
Class II Smart 2D Profile Measurement Sensors ZG2-WDS3V
Class II Laser Pointers F39-PTJ/PTR
Class 2M Class IIIb Smart 2D Profile Measurement Sensors ZG2-WDS70/WDS22/WDS8
Class 3B No application filed. UV-Light Curing Systems (Head Unit) ZUV-H20MC/H30MC/H10MC/H25MC/H35MC
Class 4 Class 4 (Laser Notice No. 50) Fiber Laser Markers* MX-Z2000G Series

Note: For details, refer to your OMRON website.
* Lasers for processing are Class 4. Guide lasers are Class 2.

Precautions for Safe Use of Laser Beams

(1) Ensure that the laser beam does not enter the eye either directly or by reflection off a mirror surface.
(When using a Class 4 laser, avoid eye or skin exposure to direct or scattered laser beams.)

(2) Labels of the type shown below are attached to Sensors that use lasers. (These are typical examples.) Observe the instructions given on the labels when handling the Sensors.

Class 1 Labels Class 2 Labels
Class 3B Labels Class 4 Labels

(3) Adjust the optical axis with an IR scope or a fluorescent plate that converts infrared rays into visible light.
(This does not apply to laser markers.)

(4) When exporting products to the EU or USA, attach the following labels, which are packed with the products. US FDA labels are included only with products that have been filed and registered with the FDA. (This does not apply to laser markers.)

Europe (EN Standard)

USA (FDA)