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Title: Laser Incident Lessons Learned and Action List

On Thursday November 19, 2015, LANL postdoc received an eye injury from a reflected, nonvisible laser beam (Class 4, pulsed, wavelength 800 nanometer). The setup is configured to split the laser output into two work areas in which qualified operators conduct research experiments. During this incident, the laser output beam was being projected to both experimental work areas, although only one experimental area was actively being used. The second laser beam directed to the second work area was blocked by an inappropriate device (Plexiglas, reflective, non-normal incidence) that reflected substantial portion of the beam toward the first setup. In preparation for the measurements, worker stepped on the stepstool and decided to remove the laser goggles to better see the micrometer readings which were difficult to see due to insufficient lighting. Immediately, he noticed a flash of light in his eye. The operator quickly replaced the laser eye-wear and then, using an infrared viewer, located a stray laser beam being reflected from the plexiglas beam block. The operator did not think he had sustained any injury and continued working. Later that day, however, he noticed a blurry spot in the vision of his left eye. He notified his supervisor on Fridaymore » morning, November 20, 2015, and was taken by CINT management to Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) medical facility for evaluation. SNL Medical did not find any abnormalities, but referred the operator to a local ophthalmologist for further evaluation. Further evaluations by the ophthalmologist on November 21 and November 23 identified a small spot of inflammation near the fovea on the retina in his left eye. The ophthalmologist stated that this spot would most likely heal on its own and that the blurry spot on the operator's vision would go away. A follow-up visit was scheduled. The employee was released back to work without restrictions.« less
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States