For several decades CO2 and Nd:YAG lasers and workstations have dominated the laser processing industry. During this same period numerous safety regulations and guidelines have been developed, around the globe, from laser bio-effects statements (ICNIRP) up to and including complete vertical standards for laser processing machines (ANSI B 11.21; IEC/ISO (EN) 11553; Parts 1 and 2; IEC 60825-4 Laser Guards) In the last few years the prospect of very short-pulse lasers, and the implementation of high powered fiber-lasers (in marking and welding applications), has offered new effects, such as high modal quality and long focal lengths. As these are different from those effects well known to CO2 and Nd:YAG laser they may raise revised safety concerns, requiring a review of our understanding of existing standards.

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