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Old 12-17-2009, 07:56 PM #1
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Default legal powers of a Laser Safety Officer?

As some of you know, Photolexicon member, who happened to be the Laser Safety Officer (LSO) at the event he was working at, recently assisted security in confiscating (and later destroying) a laser that was being used in a dangerous manner (see this thread).

However, how much legal power does an LSO actually have? I know police officers and other law enforcement agents have the power to confiscate items if they have reasonable suspicion or a warrant, but what about an LSO?

In other words, are there any repercussions if a LSO tries to take your laser away, and you refuse to hand it over, other than possibly being charged for posessing an illegal laser? (I reckon if someone is using a laser in a dangerous fashion, it may be permissible to try to take the laser away by force in self-defense, but I'm talking about cases in which the person is just having the laser out.)


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Old 12-21-2009, 06:05 PM #2
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Default Re: legal powers of a Laser Safety Officer?

If your in a private venue and I'm running my system, Your laser is going away. Away may be in your pocket and your leaving, or held by me until you leave, or in that of a security person, but I'm held responsible for your laser if you use it while my variance is active. It Doesn't matter about the Federal or State fine print. A lawyer could argue that I as a laser professional should know better then to allow unplanned radiation greater then class II to strike a audience member. That is enough for me. All I have to do is say 21 CFR 1040.1 to the Cop. I don't even have to have proof, get the legal citation right nor to make a fake citizen's arrest. And to the venue owner, I just say one (1) word, Liability.


If I let you keep aiming a beam around, I'm open to a lawsuit and loss of my business and huge damages that I could end up paying for the rest of my life. I'm going to have to terminate my show, power down my system and let security deal with you. I also assure you I will have a power meter with me, and if your over 4.95 mW and it doesn't have a accession number on it, odds are I'm gonna argue for it to be confiscated by security as a illegal device. Law or no law, its going away if I'm in a private venue.

In a public venue, I'm going to have to terminate my show, and point you out to law enforcement, and I'm not restarting till your device is gone, one way or another. If I can see something over say IIIA, I'm not going to ask you nicely, I'm going straight to the cops. You will then have a hopping mad audience to deal with you.

My insurance or the events insurance is NOT going to cover me if there is another laser present. So its game over for the pointer, no matter what social engineering or creative fibbing I have to do. If I even think its struck a person's eyes, its staying around for a measurement, on my meter if possible or done later on that of a consultant hired by a prosecutor. Sue me later, and my expert witness will make a fool of you.

There have been several events world wide where licensed, insured, laserists have been accused of causing damage, that could later be attributed to a pointer. One European case resulted in permanent damage to a young ladies eyes at a major rave. A pointer was found at fault.

The AZ case is a possible pending legal matter, and your not going to see any more details for a while. The rave promoter made the decision to smash the unit. The laserist, who was scanned in the face by the pointer, argued for assault charges to be filed and for Az State Radiation Safety Officers to be called. Arizona has a very active safety program and does issue fines.

The laserist in question has a very expensive state license, and the state could cite him against his license, if he allowed continued operation of a non licensed laser in the venue, even if it were "exempt".


I know the guy, he's a friend. He actually wanted the unit kept intact for the safety investigation. He wasn't given much of a option. Law enforcement was present. He's very lucky to have only experienced severe eye strain and loss of a few days work. He did have to undergo medical treatment and have strong anesthetics placed in his eyes for the exam.

You have no moral ground to scan a unsuspecting person in public with laser radiation. And most laser show companies now have a "pointer" clause in their contract to cover this.

And by private agreement of rave promoters and venue owners in Phoenix, pointers are now a banned item.





Steve

Last edited by LSRFAQ; 12-21-2009 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 12-21-2009, 08:33 PM #3
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Default Re: legal powers of a Laser Safety Officer?

Thanks for the information; it is quite interesting.

I know that if an owner of a private establishment can make a person leave, and the person could be charged for trespassing if they refuse. However, what about a person refusing to hand a laser over to security for testing? Is it still considered tresspassing? I know that getting the police involved solves this problem, but what could a person be charged with if they refuse to comply with the security personnel? I know that a person having a class IIIb laser out could be charged with having an illegal laser, but what if the laser turns out to be class IIIa one? After all, a bit of fog can make any laser look like a class IV one.

By the way, this may be a dumb question, but how hard is getting a variance really is? Some people say that it's hard, but there are also those that claim otherwise. Is it just a lot of paperwork, or are there requirements that Average Joe won't be able to easily meet (e.g., having a job that involves the use of lasers)? Does the process of getting a variance differ from state to state? Are there different types of variances?

Thanks again in advance.
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Last edited by ixfd64; 12-21-2009 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 12-21-2009, 10:31 PM #4
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Default Re: legal powers of a Laser Safety Officer?

By the way, this may be a dumb question, but how hard is getting a variance really is? Some people say that it's hard, but there are also those that claim otherwise. Is it just a lot of paperwork, or are there requirements that Average Joe won't be able to easily meet (e.g., having a job that involves the use of lasers)? Does the process of getting a variance differ from state to state? Are there different types of variances?

Thanks again in advance.[/QUOTE]


A variance is easy, for a indoor fixed show its a 4 page pdf and a cover letter. You then have show reports filed before every show and a yearly report. Again, easy. No requirements for operator qualification for low power although that may change. The product manual specifies the training a operator needs. Ie variancing a projector that already has a accession number is easy. Getting a accession number is where skills come in.

What is difficult is the manufacturer's report on the hardware. You read 21 cfr and decide what parts you need to prove compliance with, and most people compare notes with someone who already has a accession number for their product. You don't need to be a engineer or scientist for this. So you type up a 20-50 page report with drawings, proving that you can meet the requirements.

Since this is a agency used to medical devices, you need to also document your manufacturing Quality control practices and a copy of your manual.

Oh, and its free.
Steve
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Old 12-21-2009, 11:07 PM #5
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Default Re: legal powers of a Laser Safety Officer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ixfd64 View Post
Thanks for the information; it is quite interesting.

I know that if an owner of a private establishment can make a person leave, and the person could be charged for trespassing if they refuse. However, what about a person refusing to hand a laser over to security for testing? Is it still considered tresspassing? I know that getting the police involved solves this problem, but what could a person be charged with if they refuse to comply with the security personnel? I know that a person having a class IIIb laser out could be charged with having an illegal laser, but what if the laser turns out to be class IIIa one? After all, a bit of fog can make any laser look like a class IV one.
Man it really sounds like you're trying to cover your butt...BEFORE you
take a laser to a pubic show...

Jerry
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