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 Non-ionising Radiation and Sound (O-NIRSA) came into force on 1 June 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 include not only laser shows but also holographic projections and astronomy presentations. In the context of this Ordinance, an event involving laser radiation is the 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. The document “FAQs on the notification portal for events involving laser radiation (PDF, 3 MB, 29.07.2020)” provides additional information on the notification portal, including instructions on registering and recording notifications.

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

Anyone who carries out an event involving class 1M, 2M, 3R, 3B or 4 laser radiation 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, which are based on the SN EN 60825-1:2014 standard. Events with no laser radiation in the audience zone may be carried out by a person with either 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, 169 kB, 24.01.2020) contains an overview of the O-NIRSA regulations 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.

Obtaining competence

The following examination agencies offer training and examinations for obtaining certificates of competence for levels 1 and 2:

Application for recognition of other types of training qualifications

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) can verify the equivalence of other types of training qualifications.

The following applications can be submitted to the FOPH:

  • Application (PDF, 311 kB, 29.07.2020) for recognition of a training qualification for the operation of laser devices of class 1M, 2M, 3R, 3B or 4 at events without laser radiation in the audience zone in accordance with O-NIRSA annex 3 numbers 3.1–3.3
  • Application (PDF, 311 kB, 29.07.2020) for recognition of a training qualification for the operation of laser devices of class 1M, 2M, 3R, 3B or 4 at events with laser radiation in the audience zone in accordance with O-NIRSA annex 3 numbers 3.1–3.4

An application must be submitted at least five and a half months prior to the planned event involving class 1M, 2M, 3R, 3B or 4 laser radiation in Switzerland. There is a fee for processing applications. The guidance “Recognition of equivalence of training qualifications” (PDF, 1 MB, 29.07.2020) provides additional information.

Application for inclusion as an examination agency

The Federal Department of Home Affairs has issued an Ordinance (PDF, 362 kB, 29.07.2020) which lists the level 1 and 2 certificates of competence that a particular examination agency may issue. Anyone wishing to offer training or examination and to list level 1 and/or level 2 certificates of competence in the Ordinance may apply for inclusion with the FOPH. The guidance “Issuing certificates of competence at level 1 or 2 for events involving laser radiation” (PDF, 770 kB, 29.07.2020) provides additional information.

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 04.08.2020

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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

Print contact

https://www.bag.admin.ch/content/bag/en/home/gesund-leben/umwelt-und-gesundheit/strahlung-radioaktivitaet-schall/elektromagnetische-felder-emf-uv-laser-licht/laser-und-lasershows/lasershows.html