As producers, safety for all stakeholders is our responsibility.From being part of FX and prop dynamics to laser-based focus pulling/distance measuring and object/actor orientation for motion rigs, laser and LED-based camera gear is becoming more prevalent and some of it is flat out dangerous.The "other hat" I have been wearing for over 30 years is that of laser safety specialist and we are finding an increasing number of manufacturers selling products that are not compliant to US law and/or safety standards.Here are some important points to consider when you perform a safety review with department heads (you do that right?), specifically with respect to laser and LED-based products:- A "got a beam in the eye" event is never to be taken lightly. The characteristics of the laser can mean a temporary glare or light spot, to instant painful, and permanent blindness.- Light hazards occur at the speed of light- nothing is faster. It is not a matter of feeling the pinch of a collapsing c-stand, or the burn of touching a hot fresnel, if the laser is hazardous enough and it comes in contact with you, that's it.- Laser products are regulated in the US- ALL laser-based products MUST conform to 21CFR1040.10/.11 (a federal law) and have a product report filed. Products manufacturer overseas, must conform to IEC/EN60825 (a standard). LED products are not regulated in the US (yet), but are overseas, and must conform to IEC/EN62471. So simply putting a laser diode in a box and selling it is not acceptable.Some quick "checks" that will not eliminate those products that are out right fraudulent, but should raise red flags and prompt immediate review:- Almost any laser-based product sold on Amazon and eBay is suspect;- No labeling on the product (aperture, warning logotype, manufacturer and certification ID);- No safety section describing the laser and related safety aspects in manual (you have access to the manual right?);- (If there is) Labeling is located at the aperture (place where the light is emitted) so in order to read the safety labeling, you are getting hit with laser light.Accepting and using non-compliant products on our sets puts our people at risk. If we suspect a non-compliant or fraudulent product, contact the manufacturer and ask them:
- (If the product is from a US-based manufacturer)
Has a product report been filed with the US FDA/CDRH? Have you received an accession number?
- (If the product is from an overseas vendor)
Has a checklist and/or test report been performed to prove compliance under IEC EN60825?
If they cannot supply those answers, or have no idea about which you are asking, do not use the product- do NOT bring that risk onto your set.Alternatively, considering the insanely complex job of Producing, if you have lasers on set, find yourself an LSO (Laser Safety Officer) to assist- they will know what to look for and how to best deal with it.Have a SAFE and productive show!