Lasers are classified by both wavelength and maximum output power into four basic classes which categorize them according to their ability to produce damage to people operating them, from Class 1 (no hazard during normal use) to Class 4 (very hazardous for eyes and skin). Lasers used for welding, marking and cutting are generally Class 4 lasers.
When operating a Class 4 laser, it is essential to protect yourself and others in the area by using the right safety glasses and placing the laser in a room and/or surrounded by special barriers to protect bystanders from direct contact with the laser beam.
Most laser workstations used in manufacturing are built to be integrated with Class 4 lasers and house the laser beam securely in an enclosure that is both interlocked and fixed with a laser-safe viewing window. The integration of a Class 4 Nd:YAG laser for welding, for example, into a Class 1 enclosure creates a safe, Class 1 environment.
Learn more by reading our blog ‘Laser welding, marking, cutting? Top 2 safety questions answered!’