British Standards Institute document: Guidance for laser displays and shows
Laser safety information specific to how lasers should be set and used for entertainment and artistic applications is published by the British Standards Institute (BSI). Known informally as ‘Part 3’ the document describes in detail the precautions that should be taken, and standard practice when using Class 4, Class 3B, and non-visible Class 3R lasers for display or entertainment purposes. In what is probably the single most detailed reference guide on the topic, Part 3 provides a concise but comprehensive authoritative guide for those that design, install or operated laser equipment for this application, as well as those that operate venues or events where laser effects may be used. It also provides suitable guidance for those responsible for reviewing the safety of such displays.
The full reference and title of the guidance is PD IEC TR 60825-3:2022 Safety of laser products Part 3: Guidance for laser displays and shows, which forms part of the 60825 series of laser safety standards documents. Development of the laser display specific guidance has taken place over several years, drawing on the extensive knowledge of leading laser safety experts across the globe, whose countries are represented at the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) committee responsible for developing international safety standards. Having been developed through international participation and consensus, the text is published in many countries across the world either as its original IEC version, or, as is the case here in the UK, through local standards organisations, where a new title page and text may be prepended to the original IEC version. The contents remain the same though.
The guidance is 37 pages in length and has been designed so that for the majority of laser display applications, it can be treated as a self-contained document that readers, be they laser effect providers, general safety managers, or those charged with compliancy duties, can feel at ease with, referencing standard expected practice for laser display applications.
The following key subjects and topics are covered in the guidance.
- Terms and definitions: up-to-date, clear, laser display specific definitions
- Exposure hazards and biological effects: Zone limits and maximum permissible exposure (MPE) for laser effects – guidance for the maximum exposure levels permitted in spectator and performance zone
- Safety criteria for equipment and installations: standard requirements; projector mounting and technical requirements, physical masking, control system integrity, e-stop, and projection separation distances
- Responsibilities of designers, installers, operators and performers: training, planning, setup and alignment, operation, Display Safety Record DSR, contingency planning, incident reporting and accident investigation
- Laser display risk management: laser effect exposure risk, laser effect risk categories, risk factors and controls, laser controlled areas, signage, checklists
- Exposure assessment: recommendation, guidance, difficulties, evaluation considerations, measurement considerations, scan-fail safeguard
- Special considerations: holographic displays, ultraviolet and blue-light laser beams
The British Standards Institute version PD IEC TR 60825-3:2022 is available to purchase from:
The IEC version IEC TR 60825-3:2022 is available to purchase from:
Frequently Asked Questions
No. It is not a new regulation or law. The Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations 2010 are still the applicable workplace regulations for using lasers in the UK. Following the guidance contained in the laser safety guidance document is normally sufficient to provide safe displays that do not put people in harm’s way, while showing compliance with regulatory obligations by following standard industry practice.
IEC standards and British Standards Institute documents are paid only. The documents have to be purchased. It is however normally possible to view standards documents freely through local library services.
No. The PLASA guidance is still current and exists separately as a freely downloadable document available from the technical section of PLASA’s website. PLASA has published its guidance as a trade association. The British Standards Institute has published PD IEC TR 60825-3:2022 and part of the laser safety standards 60825 series, which have been adopted nationally from internationally developed standards work, created by a global safety standards organisation. The guidance published by the British Standards Institute has been written and reviewed by a group of international laser safety experts and government representatives, following the directives of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
PLASA’s laser safety guidance sets out overall goals, identifying general processes and practices that should take place over the lifecycle of a laser display. BSI’s guidance instead goes into greater technical depth, describing more explicitly when and how best practice precautions should be taken. Neither document conflicts with the other, or has contradictory information, with both promoting standard approaches to minimising risk in laser displays. Both documents have their merits and are useful if the guidance contained within is followed. Readers of the BSI’s guidance benefit from the more in-depth detail describing good sound practice that has been agreed by a global team of laser safety expertise.
If you have attended one of our training sessions in the past few years, most of what is in the new Part 3 guidance would have been covered in the course. It is recommended that you obtain a copy of the BSI guidance as a reference to which you can relate back to the training session and help with managing risk going forward. For those that have attended one of our sessions not so recently, or those that would like a refresher, we will soon be running refresher courses for previous attendees, with the focus on how BSI’s Part 3 guidance fits in with modern laser display safety expectations.
Yes, our standard laser display safety training courses have always been based on applying best practice to help create safe installations that minimise unacceptable exposure risk and demonstrate compliance with regulatory obligations. Now that Part 3 has been released, courses will reference how the best practice covered in the training sessions relates to the new standards document, which due to its depth of information, going forward is likely to become the standard benchmark for good laser display installations.
It has been withdrawn and superseded by the 2022 edition. Readers should refer to the 2022 edition.
No. The material contained within the body of the documents are identical. The British Standards Institute version includes an additional front and rear cover, along with a forward.
Not normally. Part 3 (laser display safety guidance) has been written as a largely self-contained document, specific for laser display applications. Manufacturers of laser equipment should refer to Part 1 for manufacturing requirements. While Part 14 has been written as a more general laser safety guide covering a wider range of laser applications.
LVR Limited September 2022