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ARE YOU A VENUE OWNWER OF PROMOTER? : WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A LASER COMPANY

Legal Obligations

Important new legislation came into force in the UK that relates to how lasers and other potentially hazardous light sources are used in the workplace. The new regulations are known as the Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations 2010 , became active from the 27th April 2010. They are derived from the EU Artificial Optical Radiation Directive (AORD), which is intended to set a minimum level of health and safety for workers across all EU member states. Further details can be found here.

Along with AORD, venue and operator/installer have legal duties to assess the risks the laser presents and ensure the safety of the people present, under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The HS(G)95 laser guidance document is a good starting place to find out what is and is not appropriate.

What to look for when choosing a laser supplier

If you are a venue operator or events promoter, there are a number of key points you can look for when choosing a laser system supplier. Some of the requirements such as the risk assessment, training and use of compliant equipment are vital to ensure safety, whilst the other aspects will just help to make sure you get a better quality and more professional display.

Its often the case that laser suppliers that take Health and Safety seriously will take more care in other areas of the service they are providing, resulting in more enjoyable displays and good levels of service.

Nine of the most common things to be aware of and look out for are listed below.

1. Risk Assessment
2. Laser Safety Training
3. Compliant Laser Equipment
4. Insurance
5. Electrical Portable Appliance Testing
6. Measuring Equipment
7. Deliberate Audience Scanning
8. Trade Association Membership
9. References

 

1. Risk Assessment
The supplier of the laser equipment should be able to perform a full risk assessment at the planning stage of the display. This should be documented along with sketch plans specific to the venue. The Local Authority or other relevant enforcement agency will almost certainly want to a see a copy of the Risk Assessment. It is useful to keep the document for audit purposes.

2. Laser Safety Training
It’s useful to check whether the person charged with carrying out the risk assessment, installing and operating the laser projection equipment, has any specific training in laser safety. Copies of training certificates are normally included in the annex to the main Risk Assessment.

3. Compliant Equipment
It is essential that the supplier’s laser equipment is constructed to the manufacturing requirements of the IEC/EN Laser Safety Standard. The Safety Standard sets a minimum level of features the equipment must have to ensure that basic safety requirements are satisfied.

4. Insurance
Many venues require that all contractors carrying out work or providing services have Public Liability Insurance.

5. Electrical Portable Appliance Testing
It is important that the supplier has a record of Electrical Portable Appliance Testing, (PAT Documentation).

6. Measuring Equipment
Does the supplier have the right equipment for measuring laser radiation?
This serves two purposes; Firstly, it allows the radiation levels to be checked for safety reasons and audit purposes. Secondly, it allows the supplier to demonstrate to you that the power levels are performing as expected.

7. Deliberate Audience Scanning
Check the supplier’s policy on audience scanning. Audience scanning is where the laser effects are directed into the areas that are accessible by the public, rather than area above the audience. Putting laser radiation directly into the faces of the audience can increase the risks associated with viewing laser displays. If either you or the laser supplier wants to directly scan the audience with laser effects, then a detailed assessment of the effects should be performed. At the very least this requires the laser supplier to have a laser power meter to verify the power level of a static beam. The spread of the laser radiation during projecting laser effects must then be calculated and/or measured, so that it can be determined if MPE’s are being exceeded.

8. Trade Association Membership
If a company says it belongs to a trade association or body, it’s probably worth checking their membership is current. Often the association’s website will list all current members. It’s not uncommon for some laser suppliers to say they are members, when they are not.

9. References
Just as you would normally look at past experience and references of previous work other types of skilled businesses or suppliers have performed, it’s often worth looking at what other work has been undertaken by your prospective laser show supplier.


© LVR 2011