Radiation and Laser Safety

Radiation and Laser Safety
Lasers have many applications these days. They are  often used in scanners and detectors, night vision optics, medical applications and industry. However, radiation exposure from lasers can pose a serious health risk and it does exist in many items that we come in contact with on a regular basis, such as microwave ovens and cellphones.

People are vulnerable to radiation exposure through X-ray machines and cancer treatments. Radiation treatment facilities also exist across the United States where the energy is stored and harnessed for use by both the public and the government. Because of the many safety hazards that are associated with radiation exposure, such as health problems and even death, you need to be able to recognize radiation safety issues and how to prevent exposure.

Laser and radiation exposure can have e biological effect as well.  These biological effects of laser radiation overexposure are the action of visible, ultraviolet (UV), or infrared radiation upon tissues. Generally, lasers in the UV region induce photochemical reactions. Lasers in the infrared region, however,  induce thermal effects. Damage occurs when a laser beam encounters tissue, depending on the combined characteristics of both the incident laser beam and the properties of the tissue involved.

Radioactive materials can sometimes have leaks which can lead to health and safety risks for the surrounding population. Radioactive materials, especially liquids, can seep into the ground, causing the local soil and water table to become poisonous to living things and thus unusable. Anyone who eats something grown in radioactive material or who drinks tainted water can become extremely ill, develop a prolonged illness or, in some cases, die. As a result, local government and the federal Environmental Protection Agency regulate and monitor these facilities very closely and hold facilities accountable for every unit of radioactive material that passes through them.

Direct exposure to radioactive materials can cause several health problems even though radiation treatments are used to treat other health problems such as cancer. Radiation exposure can cause tumors, cancer and even birth defects in babies exposed while in the womb. Anyone at risk for radiation exposure should avoid the source if possible to prevent radiation poisoning.

Likewise, laser light radiation can permanently damage your eyes. It is critical that the correct safety goggles are available to employees. Different lasers operate at different wavelengths and strengths. Safety goggles must be labeled with the wavelength and optical density they are designed to protect against. Employers must ensure that all operators, maintenance and repair personnel wear their goggles at all times when around lasers.

Safety signs can help you identify radiation and laser hazards. You can inform workers and visitors about areas in your facility that has either radiation or lasers present through these signs. They also alert employees of the dangers that result from direct exposure of radiation or lasers.  Most of these signs include a message warning of laser radiation.

Idesco Safety provides a wide selection of radiation and laser signs that are compliant with OSHA’s safety standards. OSHA recognizes the importance of posting high quality safety signs in all hazardous and unsafe areas of a work environment. These safety signs are intended to indicate the potential, type, and degree of the hazard that may lead to accidental injury and property damage.

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