Preparing and auditing a laser safety program is the responsibility of the hospital, hospital staff and physicians appointed to committees empowered for this task. This is reflected in the requirements of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAH).
Many of the injuries that occur with lasers are said to be due to inadequate training, improper use and/or disregard of the advise given. However, even with adequate training, it is necessary for awareness and diligence to be maintained. There have been several reports of eye accidents occurring to experienced personnel who were not wearing their glasses.
Much of the information to be used in the preparation of a laser safety program will come from the American National standards for the Safe Use of Lasers in Health Care Facilities, Z136.3 (1988). This publication places responsibility on the laser safety officer and provides an appendix for the various specialties with checklists, training programs and requirements for hospital privileges.
Credentialing is used by hospitals to decide who should be privileged to perform which procedures. Granting of the privileges is credentialing and deciding which procedures are approved is delineation. Hospitals may be held liable under a theory of corporate neglect if they do not guarantee that physicians have a demonstration of competence.
Physicians’s credentialing is frequently based on training that they have received. although there are many different credentialing criterion, these include: basic education in the use of lasers, hands on laser training, observation of other surgeons’ cases and credentialing by procedure.
Audits should be done (or supervised) by the Laser Safety Officer, and should include visual inspection of equipment and it’s care/handling, physical plant, accessory instrumentation and supplies, and a random review of documentation tools. A full report should then be made and presented to the laser use committee with clearly defined follow-up action items. Lasers can be a safe, effective treatment option for our patients, or they can be a source of frustration, confusion, and potential hazard in the clinical setting. routine audits of laser safety practices will provide a strong foundation for building a high technology presents new directions in surgery and medicine.