• Basic Safe Laser Shows (draft)

  • Basic Safe Laser Shows (draft)

The Basic Safe Laser Show document, currently in draft, describes requirements and recommendations for a basic laser show that ILDA considers safe. If a person were to follow the document, the chance of injury (hazardous effect or adverse biological changes) would be considered by ILDA to be vanishingly small.

The Basic Safe Laser Show incorporates regulatory requirements and standards practices from U.S. FDA and ANSI Z136. A Basic Safe Laser Show includes these important characteristics:

    • Visible, continuous wave lasers only, with a maximum output of 30 watts
    • No exposure to the audience of laser light from Class 3B (5-499 mW) and Class 4 (>500 mW) lasers
    • All shows under the direct and personal control of a trained, competent operator
    • Anticipate problems and make contingency plans for mitigation
    • Keep a written or electronic log for at least one year of all laser use at shows, including set-up and rehearsal
    • Easier for an inspector to confirm compliance

If a show conforms to the Basic Safe Laser Show requirements, ILDA will not object to the show, regardless of whether it meets governmental reporting requirements such as having a variance.

Three important caveats

   1) The Basic Safe Laser Show document is currently in draft. It is not adopted or approved by ILDA at this time. It will be discussed within ILDA, including at the 2022 ILDA Conference in London, prior to any adoption or approval. We welcome comments and suggestions; please contact ILDA.

   2) Persons doing laser shows should still file for any government-required reporting such as having a variance. Just because ILDA is OK with a Basic Safe Laser Show, does not mean that U.S. FDA, state or local officials would not investigate and prosecute any reporting violations.

   3) ILDA urges FDA, ANSI Z136.10 and others to consider adopting the requirements and recommendations of the Basic Safe Laser Show. Specifically, to not require government review and pre-approval (e.g. variances, annual reports, etc.) if a show meets the Basic Safe Laser Show requirements.

This third point is important. An FDA variance is permission to vary from the rules. The variance form currently includes simple requirements (i.e., restricted beam locations, operator control) as standard items. ILDA believes that shows meeting those simple requirements should not be required to obtain permission in advance. Only shows with special features such as audience scanning or unsupervised laser use would need further FDA review, and advance permission.

ILDA hopes that FDA regulations can eventually be modified, perhaps with a Laser Notice, to state that laser shows meeting specific requirements such as the Basic Safe Laser Show, do not need to file with FDA in advance. (Perhaps the laser show operators would need to file once with FDA, the way that drone operators file once with FAA but then do not need to file separately each time their drone has different flight paths.) Of course, if a person violates the Basic Safe Laser Show requirements, FDA retains their authority to investigate and penalize them.

For more information, visit our other ILDA websites:

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ILDAmember.com: Membership database and event management, including joining ILDA
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LasershowSafety.info: Information about safe laser shows, including laws, regulations, checklists, and more

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