Laser and Optical Radiation

Laser Exposure Reporting

Last Updated: October 24, 2018

​Military and civilian personnel who operate or maintain laser systems should be aware of the basic reporting procedures for suspected laser injuries or overexposures. Commanders must ensure that any Soldier or DOD employee who has a suspected laser overexposure or possible injury is immediately examined by an optometrist or ophthalmologist at the nearest Medical Treatment Facility (MTF) within 24 hours (see DA PAM 40-506 and DA PAM 385-24).  Commanders should immediately secure the laser involved in the incident for accident investigation purposes.  

Medical Response

Anyone suspecting that they have experienced a possible overexposure or injury from a laser should be seen by a medical provider immediately.  Lasers are classified according to their potential to cause an injury to the eyes and skin. The class of the laser will help to determine if an overexposure occurred.  In general, class 1 and 2 lasers will not cause injuries or overexposures and class 1M, 2M, and 3R are unlikely to cause injuries.  Personnel (including those who work in research, development, testing, and evaluation of laser systems, laser maintenance, or an operating room where a medical laser is in use) who regularly work with class 3B and/or class 4 lasers should have baseline assessments completed for vision prior to using such lasers.  Military laser operators are not considered part of this group.  These assessments can be used later to better evaluate any suspected overexposures or injuries.

 

The MTF shall report any incident of known or suspected laser overexposure to the Tri-Service Hotline at 1-800-473-3549 (DSN 798-3764); even if an individual does not have a confirmed laser injury.  If possible, the laser class, type, and model should be reported.  Complete the online reporting form.  To access this form, visit https://hpws.afrl.af.mil/dhp/OE/ESOHSCExternal Link (CAC required) and complete the registration. From the homepage, select Radiation Safety, then select DoD Tri-Service Laser Safety Hotline.


Command Response

Once a unit suspects or confirms a laser overexposure incident, the person in charge should notify their Command and Installation Laser Safety Officer (LSO), Radiation Safety Officer (RSO), or Safety Officer.

 

The LSO, RSO, or Safety Officer will notify the following:

  1. Tri-Service Laser Injury Hotline: 1-800-473-3549 
  2. Army Public Health Center (APHC): Nonionizing Radiation Division, DSN 584-3932, commercial 410-436-3932 or 1-800-222-9698, or usarmy.apg.medcom-phc.mbx.nonionizing@mail.mil
  3. The Tri-Service Vision Conservation and Readiness Division, DSN 584-2714, commercial 410-436-2714 or usarmy.apg.medcom-aphc.mbx.dcpm-tri-service-optometry@mail.mil. After normal duty hours, contact APHC personnel via the staff duty officer, DSN 584-4375 or commercial 410-436-4375 or 1-800-222-9698. 
  4. The Army Safety Office at DSN 227-1194/1321, commercial 703-697-1194/1321 or atusarmy.pentagon.hqda-aso.mbx.army-safety-office@mail.mil
  5. For classified incidents, please contact the Environment, Safety, and Occupational Health (ESOH) service center at esoh.service.center@wpafb.af.mil. Ask for SIPR. 
  6. If the incident meets the requirements to file a report utilizing REPORT-IT, the RSO will submit an online report at https://reportit.safety.army.milExternal Link per AR 385-10.


Post Deployment 

For Soldiers returning from deployment, question 17 should be completed on DD form 2796, Post Deployment Health Assessment questionnaire regarding exposure concerns. Notify the installation LSO, RSO, or Safety Officer.