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Your next career move could be the laser safety officer

Written by Ruth Nicholson - NZ Laser/Beauty Tech on January 14th, 2019.      0 comments

So, you’ve been involved in the Laser or IPL industry for a while and you know how to do treatments, maybe your role has become a tad predictable and you feel you have more to give? – You may be able to train to become a laser safety officer. (LSO)

There is regulation in place in New Zealand where the role of a supervisor trained to oversee safety, auditing, maintenance and reporting of incidences relating to laser is required. The Auckland Council Health & Hygiene bylaw 2013, in place since 1st July 2014, is under currently under review and discusses the role of the Laser Safety Officer when and where it references the relevant Australian and New Zealand safety standards. The other document to reference is the Health and Safety at Work (General Risk and Workplace Management) Regulations 2016, which applies to all workplaces across New Zealand. From a laser point of view this document relates to the health and safety aspects that affect workers in the laser workplace. Taking both regulations and combining them into a relevant and workable role – we arrive at the new term, Laser Health & Safety Officer, or LHSO. Let’s now look at what the role is, what the LHSO is responsible for, and what is involved in training to become one.

What is a laser health and safety officer – The person in charge of all aspects of the laser in the laser workplace, this nominated person is aware of known risks, and hazards associated with the laser(s), and able to determine who can and cannot use or operate the laser.

What is the laser health and safety officer responsible for – Considering the inclusion of health and safety laws, this will also mean checking the laser workplace for potential hazards identifying and mitigating risks to visitors, customers and staff who come in contact with the laser; and maintaining an audited record of checks. The LHSO should be able to demonstrate they hold records showing who is and isn’t trained on certain lasers, and which specific maintenance is required for each type of laser platform. I.e.: when to replace the laser fibre and where they are purchased from, how often the liquid coolant is to be topped up and how to check the levels, and what safety glasses are required for each specific machine and where to buy replacements from if required.
One important aspect of the role involves dealing with complaints and generating reports which might be referenced in court cases, legal claims, refund policies and in the case of any accident or accidental exposure cases that could occur.
FAQ’s about the role of the Laser safety officer, or LHSO (combining health & safety into one role)

Does every clinic offering IPL or Laser need to have a nominated LSO, or LHSO?
By law and as interpreted by the Auckland Council health & hygiene bylaw 2013, yes, most clinics in this region require an LSO or LHSO. Outside of Auckland it would be considered industry best practice to have a person in this role.

Who should be nominated for the role?
A person with the right skillset can nominate themselves, they might be voted in by other staff, or given the role as they are the most suitable candidate. One LSO or LHSO can also oversee more than one location if the role remains manageable.

Does the LHSO need to know how to operate all the lasers they oversee ?
No, often this role goes to an administrator who has undertaken specific training in laser safety and this may or may not include training on how to operate the machines themselves. It is however an advantage to have skills including being a trained and certified laser technician but not always necessary.

Does the nominated LHSO need to be medically qualified?
No, the LHSO is not there to attend to medical situations or administer first aid or medical advice, if your circumstance makes sense to combine these roles then it could be a consideration for your situation, however it is not a requirement. It would make sense though that the LHSO has access to the person

What is involved in training to become an LSO, or LHSO?
A few laser training providers offer ‘Laser supervisor’ certification which is similar to the Laser Safety Officer (LSO) role, however latest health and safety laws means that the role of this nominated person now extends into other aspects that are not currently covered by a laser supervisor. Our advice is to undertake a generic Laser safety certification first (this is often a prerequisite) and then enrol in a Laser Safety Officer, or Laser Health & Safety Officers educational programme.

The training programme includes learning terminology, how to conduct audits and safety checks, how to write reports, what to look out for and how to put steps in place to reduce, manage or deal with situations that may arise in the laser workplace. The teachings are generally theory only based with some interactive activities to put the new found skills into place. NZ Laser Training Ltd offers this certified programme online.

For more information please check out:
Topics: Laser and IPL




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