Los Alamos Laser Eye Investigation.
A student working in a laser laboratory at Los Alamos National Laboratory sustained a serious retinal injury to her left eye when she attempted to view suspended particles in a partially evacuated target chamber. The principle investigator was using the white light from the flash lamp of a Class 4 Nd:YAG laser to illuminate the particles. Since the Q-switch was thought to be disabled at the time of the accident, the principal investigator assumed it would be safe to view the particles without wearing laser eye protection. The Laboratory Director appointed a team to investigate the accident and to report back to him the events and conditions leading up to the accident, equipment malfunctions, safety management causal factors, supervisory and management action/inaction, adequacy of institutional processes and procedures, emergency and notification response, effectiveness of corrective actions and lessons learned from previous similar events, and recommendations for human and institutional safety improvements. The team interviewed personnel, reviewed documents, and characterized systems and conditions in the laser laboratory during an intense six week investigation. The team determined that the direct and primary failures leading to this accident were, respectively, the principle investigator's unsafe work practices and the institution's inadequate monitoring of workermore »
- Publication Date:
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- Report Number(s):
- Resource Type:
- Resource Relation:
- Conference: Laser Institute of America for publication in the Proceedings of the International Laser Safety Conference held in Marina del Rey, CA
- Research Org:
- Los Alamos National Laboratory
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- Country of Publication:
- United States
- 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; ACCIDENTS; EYES; LASERS; OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY; RECOMMENDATIONS
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