With new ANSI Z136 laser safety standards recently published or on the horizon, the session chairs of the LIA’s biennial International Laser Safety Conference (ILSC®) are busy shaping next year’s cutting-edge educational program.

2013 Conference General Chair Ben Rockwell, center, accompanied by LIA Executive Director, Peter Baker, right, and Past President Stephen Capp, left.

Under the oversight of four-time Chair Dr. Ben Rockwell, ILSC 2013 will build on the success of the 2011 Technical and Medical Practical Applications Seminars (PAS). Rockwell, who is also chairman of the subcommittee that produces the ANSI Z136.1 standard, envisions a good deal of instruction to be based on the recently revised Z136.3 standard regarding lasers used in health care settings and the new Z136.8 standard guiding laser use in research, development or testing.

“The laser community is moving toward having one horizontal standard with several vertical standards,” notes Dr. Rockwell, of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Fort Sam Houston, TX. “The laser safety professional needs to understand where his or her program fits into the new standardization. They’ll learn those kinds of things at ILSC.”

While the parent Z136.1 standard is slated to be revised, an updated guideline on safe use of optical fiber communication systems using laser diode and LED sources is likely to be approved in time for ILSC. The conference will be held March 18-21 at the Doubletree by Hilton® at the entrance to Universal Studios© in Orlando.

The primary attraction of ILSC is that the “content is updated with the community,” Dr. Rockwell says. “It brings current and cutting-edge information to the laser safety professional. As the standards change and the criteria for evaluating laser hazards change, ILSC changes. A good example is intense light sources,” one of the many topics addressed at ILSC, along with plume hazards and eye protection, new technologies, operating room procedures, nominal hazard zones and more.

Especially strong have been submissions for the two bioeffects sessions, “which makes me particularly happy because this is where the most science is,” notes Laser Safety Scientific Sessions Chair Dr. Karl Schulmeister of Austria’s Seibersdorf Laboratories. Other highlights, he says, will be presentations on broadband (non-laser) sources and product safety specifics, “for instance on the hot topic of using laser radiation to produce lamp-like emissions as well as on the challenges of home-use devices for skin treatment.”

The highly popular two-day Medical PAS, returning from 2011, will offer contact hours for attendees. Chaired by Vangie Dennis, administrative director for the Spivey Station Surgery Center outside Atlanta, it will feature an overview of the 2011 Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses Recommended Practices for Laser Safety.

“The recommended practices from AORN focus on clinical practice while optimizing laser safety through the essentials of appropriate hazard assessment with a patient focus. New and innovative types of laser systems will be discussed, and new services are continually transitioning. We’ll always have a section on aesthetics because aesthetics changes quicker than anything.”

The companion two-day Technical PAS will “provide laser safety professionals with a set of ready-to-use tools designed to immediately improve their laser safety program,” says chair Ben Edwards, assistant director of the Radiation Safety Section at Vanderbilt Environmental Health and Safety in Nashville, TN. It will emphasize “high-impact approaches that maximize their return on time and effort invested,” explains Edwards.

ILSC’s Sponsor Reception is a great networking and learning opportunity.

As with LIA’s other highly focused workshops and conferences, ILSC 2013 will give professionals with shared interests and unmatched networking opportunities through ancillary meetings, the poster presentation gallery, awards and hot topic luncheons and receptions. Experts from around the world will share their insights at the event; laser safety officers will be able to compare notes with their peers, as well as with other attendees including everyone from physicists, military personnel and environmental specialists to medical technicians, biomedical researchers and industrial hygienists.

For more information about registering to attend ILSC or for updates regarding certification maintenance points, visit www.lia.org/ilsc.