Events involving laser radiation

Some events involving laser radiation use very powerful lasers with output powers of several watts. When a laser beam of such strength - even for a very short duration - hits the eye, temporary visual impairment, after-images, reading impairment and in severe cases permanent damage to the eye may be caused.  

Scope of the O-NIRSA

The Ordinance to the Federal Act on Protection Against Hazards Arising from Non-Ionising Radiation and Sound (O-NIRSA) comes into force on June 1st 2019 and applies to all types of events involving laser radiation, independently of whether they take place in buildings or in the open air. Such events not only include laser shows, but also holographic projections and astronomy presentations. In the context of this Ordinance an event involving laser radiation is that part of an event, in which the laser radiation from a laser device is visible to the audience or third parties. A laser device may consist of any number of laser projectors, of which each may possess one or more lasers.
 

Notification requirement

Events involving laser radiation of all laser classes are subject to notification, except for events involving class 1 and 2 laser equipment, on condition that they do not emit radiation into the airspace. The Federal Office of Public Health must be notified of any event involving laser radiation no later than 14 days before the event via the notification portal.
 

Competence for laser devices of Classes 1M, 2M, 3R, 3B or 4

Anyone who carries out an event involving laser radiation of classes 1M, 2M, 3R, 3B or 4 must appoint a person with a certificate level 2 for events with laser radiation in the audience zone and with a certificate level 1 for events with no laser radiation in the audience zone. The competent person is responsible for the design of a laser light show as well as for the installation and operation of the laser system used at the event. The person shall fully meet the O-NIRSA requirements that are based on the Standard SN EN 60825-1:2014. Events with no laser radiation in the audience zone may be carried out by either by a person with a certificate of competence level 1 or 2. A certificate of competence level 2 is in any case required for the notification, planning, installation and operation of laser equipment of an event involving laser radiation in the audience zone. The document O-NIRSA: Events involving Laser Radiation (PDF, 165 kB, 06.05.2019) contains an overview of the regulations of the O-NIRSA and describes who bears the responsibility, what competence level is required, who files the notification, and who is responsible for operating the laser equipment on site and staging the event.  

The first training courses to acquire proof of competence will likely be offered during the first quarter 2020. The FOPH will publish the offered training courses on this webpage. Please contact the FOPH through the Laser Mailbox should you wish to be informed about the first courses or are interested in offering a training course to grant competence in “Events involving Laser Radiation”. Further information can be found in the document O-NIRSA: Events involving Laser Radiation (PDF, 165 kB, 06.05.2019) (clause 3). 
 

Enforcement

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) is responsible for enforcing the regulations on events involving laser radiation. The FOPH runs a notification portal and examines the submitted notifications. For complex cases the FOPH may commission a measurement company for the risk assessment. The FOPH monitors compliance with the O-NIRSA and may, in order to ensure public safety, order immediate measures directly on site.
 

Transitional Provisions from the SLO to the O-NIRSA

From June 1st 2019 to December 1st 2020 events involving laser equipment of Classes 1M, 2M, 3R, 3B or 4 may be conducted in accordance with the old Sound and Laser Ordinance (SLO) and notified to the cantonal authorities.

Last modification 28.06.2019

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Contact

Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Division of Radiological Protection
Non-ionising Radiation and Dosimetry Section
Schwarzenburgstrasse 157
3003 Berne
Switzerland
Tel. +41 58 469 26 76
E-mail

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