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Laser pointers - safety audit results

< previous | next > 06.03.2017

Laser pointers - safety audit results
  • The Trade Inspection Authority has performed a safety audit with respect to laser pointers.
  • Nearly 46% of products were found to be in violation of the applicable provisions, mostly due to the absence of the required information in the user’s manual or due to improper labelling.
  • Most of the manufacturers have managed to remedy the irregularities during the audit.

Laser pointers are devices useful for making presentations which may either take the form of separate items or of components of pens, flashlights, USB drives or other gadgets. Looking directly at a laser beam may cause eye injury, hence the requirement that the user of the product is aware of how to use it and how to ensure one’s own safety. At the request of the President of the UOKiK, during the 4th quarter of 2016, the Trade Inspection Authority examined 92 batches of laser pointers in total. In the course of a nationwide safety audit which mostly covered retail stores and wholesale outlets, the inspectors have identified a number of irregularities, the majority of which pertained to product labelling. 57% of all impugned laser pointers were not supplied with a complete user’s manual. In case of 11 batches of the products in question, the traders have failed to attach the necessary labelling – including warning labels – to the laser pointers offered.

The Trade Inspection Authority ordered tests to be carried out at the Research Laboratory of the Optical Electronics Department of the Military University of Technology. Laser beams may have a varying degree of influence on the human body, hence the need to assign appropriate safety classes to laser devices. Two of the samples examined were found to present certain irregularities. One of them featured a higher safety class than declared by the manufacturer. In case of the second sample of laser pointers, which did not provide any such information at all, the tests showed that the products in question had a safety class which indicated a high probability of causing eye injuries.

Compared to the audit performed back in 2010, during which irregularities were found in 73% of all cases, the last year’s audit was certainly an improvement. As a result of the activities of the Trade Inspection Authority, most entrepreneurs were able to eliminate all irregularities before the audit was complete. Should you have any doubts as to the safety or quality of a product, please do not hesitate to contact the Trade Inspection Authority or the Market Supervision Department of the UOKiK.

Consumers take note: every laser outside of safety class 1 may pose a health hazard.

  1. Read the user’s manual:
  1. Learn how to handle and use the product in a safe and correct manner to avoid possible exposure to hazardous laser radiation.
  2. Check the locations of laser pointer apertures.
  1. Study the labelling and warning signs on the product or packaging:
  1. The label border, text and symbols should be black on a yellow background (with the exception of class 1 devices).
  2. The label must contain a warning triangle with a laser beam symbol (with the exception of class 1 devices), laser class indication as well as an appropriate warning (with the exception of class 1 devices) and information on the maximum output, pulse duration (in case of pulsed lasers) and wavelength.
  1. Learn about safety classes and laser device descriptions:

The laser safety class is a label of fundamental importance. Apart from class 1 devices, all other lasers may pose a hazard to human health, with eye injury being the most prevalent risk factor. Class 3B and 4 laser pointers should not be made available to an average consumer.

  1. Class 1 – the device is safe in all reasonably foreseeable conditions.
  2. Class 1M – the device is safe, with the exception of the hazard which may occur when looking through any optical devices.
  3. Class 2 – low-output laser; eye protection is ensured through natural aversion and instinctive defensive reactions.
  4. Class 2M – as in class 2, with the exception of the hazard which may occur when looking through any optical devices.
  5. Class 3R – looking directly at the laser beam may present a health hazard.
  6. Class 3B – looking directly at the laser beam will usually present a health hazard.
  7. Class 4 – high-output laser; diffuse reflections may present a health hazard.

 

Additional information for the media:

Press Office of the UOKiK
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa
Phone: 695 902 088
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]

Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

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