Equipment/Laser Cutter/RiskAssessment

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Activity

Laser cutting various materials by trained operators.

Hazard identification

Consider the hazards involved in conducting this activity and list each hazard

1. Fire

2a. Laser Safety (burns)

2b. Laser Safety (eyes)

3. Lid

4. Electrical safety

5. Toxic chemicals and air quality

6. Noise

7. Waste tray

Persons at risk

Consider who might be put at risk by the hazards listed above

  • The user is subject to 1-7
  • The space and all occupants are subject to 1,2a,2b,5,6

Initial assessment of risk

Hazard identified Severity Probability Risk Factor (Severity x probability)
1.Fire 4 1 4
2a.Laser (burns) 4 2 8
2b.Laser (eyes) 5 2 10
3.Lid 2 2 4
4.Electrical safety 5 2 10
5. Toxic chemicals and air quality 4 2 8
6. Noise 2 3 6
7. Waste tray 2 2 4


Categorising the risk level as 1-4(Low), 5-9(Moderate), 10-15(High) or 16-25 (Unacceptable) shows that the potential level of risk in this activity is Moderate. Further measures are needed to reduce the risk to a low level.

Control measures

Laser cutter is classified "RED" - meaning only trained users may use them. All Makespace members are aware of this rule, and it is clearly marked on the laser cutters.

Additional mechanical switched interlocks added to the laser lid on both laser cutters. These have both been tested fully and operate in series with the existing cutout. (All combinations of switches individually tested after installation for correct operation). Low electrical risk (low voltage, not near fingers, contacts covered). Mechanical components designed to not be sharp / protruding.

This additional system can be bypassed by determined operators and the reliability of the existing cutout system is unknown although presumed to be reliable. We feel that the microswitches are an additional safety layer and no existing safety system is compromised. We do not believe there is any additional "perceived safety" causing more risky user behaviour.

  • Necessary control measures arising from the hazard identified of Fire are:
    • Don't leave the machine running unattended.
    • Annual PAT testing for electrical safety
    • dedicated CO2 fire extinguisher for the laser cutters.
  • Necessary control measures arising from the hazard identified of Laser (2a,2b) are:
    • Lock all access doors to prevent accidental opening
    • Add additional interlocks to the lid to prevent operation with lid partially open
  • Necessary control measures arising from the hazard identified of Lid are:
    • Warn users about lid operation, ensure lid correctly maintained.
  • Necessary control measures arising from the hazard identified of Electric Shock are:
    • Annual PAT test
    • Carry out a visual check and check the test date before use.
  • Necessary control measures arising from the hazard identified of Chemical emissions are:
    • Operators are to be trained to be aware of the risks of toxic gases being given of during the cutting process. Users are told what they can cut without issue (acrylic, wood, laser plywood) and are encouraged to use materials purchased for stock by Makespace. Operators are told to consult the laser cutter owners or our Wiki if they plan to cut a material which has not been sold 'for laser cutter use'. Operators are also trained to challenge fellow operators if they are cutting a material they do not recognise.

Training measures relevant to RA: - All operators to continually watch their job for signs of fire, machine to be watched at all times. - Fire extinguisher awareness

Waste tray is heavy and must be removable. Risk of injury small but significant. Current mitigation: warn users during training. Future mitigation: prevent tray being removable, cut hole in tray base for waste removal.

  • Noise levels from air filters are significant but not excessive. Lasers are used intermittently so the noise level is not hazardous.

Final assessment of risk

The assessed risk taking into account the implementation of the control measures listed, and adherence to the SSOW (Safe System of Work) if applicable is as follows:

Hazard identified Severity Probability Risk Factor (Severity x probability)
1.Fire 4 1 4
2a.Laser (burns) 4 1 4
2b.Laser (eyes) 5 1 5
3.Lid 2 2 4
4.Electrical safety 5 1 5
5.Toxic chemicals and air quality 4 1 4
6. Noise 2 2 4
7. Waste tray 2 2 4

When completing Risk Assessment please consider if First Aid assistance might be appropriate if the calculated Risk level (Severity x Probability) is greater than 5

The risk now falls into the category LOW and is considered to be acceptable.