ORLANDO, FL, Dec. 20, 2011 — With lasers making unprecedented inroads into the manufacturing processes of various industries, the Laser Institute of America’s two-day on-site laser safety officer courses are a big hit as a unique resource for learning hazard prevention.

LIA held its most recent on-site Industrial Laser Safety Officer (ILSO) course Dec. 13-14 at IPG Photonics in Novi, Mich., with attendees learning the duties of laser safety officers (LSOs). Laser-based cutting, welding, drilling, and marking applications are being adopted with greater frequency, and manufacturers are scrambling to appoint and educate LSOs to ensure the safety of their personnel.

Among LIA’s broad repertoire of renowned laser safety resources, the on-site LSO course hosted by IPG provides a vital opportunity to connect with experts in the field. The December session — the fourth the LIA corporate member has hosted this year — was so popular that LIA Education Director Gus Anibarro had to turn away some prospective attendees.

Hosting the ILSO course at locations closer to industry hubs — for example, the automotive industry of the Midwest — is invaluable to firms that can’t send employees to LIA headquarters in Orlando, notes Mike Klos, IPG’s general manager of Midwest operations. “We provide the room, and at the end we give a demo with the high-powered laser in the back lab here. We say, ‘Hey, I know you don’t understand the 1 micron wavelength — it’s a little bit different, but we do have LSO training and highly recommend it if it’s not mandatory for your company.”

The highly focused course emphasizes the basics, says instructor Tim Hitchcock, “To help (attendees) understand the hazards of industrial laser use and how to establish a laser safety program to control these hazards.” The on-site model “helps the host provide a necessary service to their customers and allows the customers to focus on the essentials of laser safety for their particular work environment.”

Attendees get an overview of safety regulations, the bioeffects of lasers, proper control measures, and effective program administration. The registration fee ($550 nonmembers, $500 members) includes a CD packed with useful LSO forms. Also included with the course are LIA’s Laser Safety Guide, relevant ANSI Z136 Standard, LIA’s Guide to the Selection of Laser Eyewear and more.

The on-site ILSO sessions are tailored to fit the needs of safety professionals, engineers, laser operators, technicians, and other professionals assigned LSO duties without being required to perform hazard analysis calculations. The Dec. 13-14 workshop included attendees from Pratt & Whitney, Eagle Technologies, American Axle Manufacturing, and the Automatic Feed Company.

Going into this course, attendees can expect to learn about how to determine hazard zones, select the correct protective eyewear, and be informed on the best way to keep themselves and company personal as safe as possible. “I learned all of that, as well as exactly how exposure affects the eyes and skin, a good deal of technical terminology, and how the ANSI Z136.1 standard is set up to help develop a solid laser safety program,” says course attendee Josh Boyd, Controls Engineer at Automatic Feed Company, “through some examples of past accidents as told by our instructor, I also developed an even greater respect for the dangers that lasers can pose, even if they are lower power lasers”.

LIA, the recognized leader in laser advocacy and safety resources since 1968, is rapidly filling its 2012 calendar with industrial and medical laser safety officer courses. Visit www.lia.org/education/calendar to view the current schedule and register. Firms and organizations wishing to host a laser safety officer course can visit www.lia.org/education/inhouse for more details, or receive a customized quote by contacting LIA at 1-800-345-2737 or courses@lia.org.