FSO and Laser Safety

Laser Safety and Free Space Optics

CableFree considers that Laser Safety is paramount when designing and deploying Free Space Optics: Customers and the general public cannot be put at risk.  All CableFree FSO products are Class 1M: safe to the naked eye.

Free Space Optical (FSO, Optical Wireless, Laser, Infrared) systems contain optical transmission devices. In all current outdoor FSO products, these are semiconductor lasers, and therefore laser safety needs to be considered when using or designing such devices.   Such products are classified internationally by two standards bodies, the IEC (Europe) and FDA (Food and Drugs Administration – USA).

The minimum acceptable classification for FSO systems is Class 1M.   FSO systems complying with Class 1M are safe for use.  However any Systems classified as Class 3b or above are dangerous, and should not be used in public places.

Ensuring FSO products are Eye Safe

The unprotected eye is sensitive to laser radiation and can be permanently damaged from direct or reflected beams. The site of ocular damage for any given laser depends upon its output wavelength, and the risk level on the output power and beam configuration.

Applicable safety standards for the human eye per the following standards:

  • International Laser Standard IEC 60825-1/A2:2001
  • European Standard EN 60825-1/A2:2000, DIN VDE 0837-1/A2
  • IEC/EN 60825-7:1998
  • DIN V VDE V 0837-7:1999
  • US user Standard ANSI Z 136.1, CDRH 21 DRF

There are three elements which affect the degree of exposure:

1) Distance from the source
2) How much time is spent staring into the beam
3) Whether you are looking through a device which magnifies the beam (telescope or binoculars)

CableFree FSO Laser Safety Diagram of the Human Eye
CableFree FSO Laser Safety Diagram of the Human Eye

Summary of FSO Laser Safety

In summary, FSO systems with Class 1 or 1M are safe to use in public places. Any systems marked ‘Class 3B’ or higher are not safe.

If a users sells or install products which are marked ‘Class 3B’ in public places, they are taking a serious risk which may include impounding of equipment, prosecution, and charges of negligence.

For Further Information

For more information on Laser Safety please Contact Us