On 5 February 2014, the European Commission published a Decision (1) on the safety requirements for consumer laser products, pursuant to Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on general product safety.
Safety of Laser Products
A large number of laser products are now broadly available to consumers worldwide. For example, hand-held, battery operated laser pointers can pose a risk to the skin and even the sight of consumers. The existing standard for laser products, EN 60825-1:2007 'Safety of laser products - Part 1: Equipment classification and requirements' (2) indicates that the risk of laser products should be assessed and the products shall show appropriate warning labels and be marketed together with user instructions containing safety information details. This standard however does not ensure that these appropriately labeled laser products are actually safe for use by consumers.
This Decision therefore outlines the definitions of 'consumer laser products' to include products that constitute or incorporate a laser or laser system that is intended for consumer use and which permit access to laser radiation.
New EU Requirements to Ensure Children's Safety
This Decision also applies to 'child appealing consumer laser products' that are either intended for use by children or are commonly recognized as being appealing to children due to their form or design.
Consumer laser products as well as child appealing consumer laser products should comply with the safety requirements outlined in this Decision which states that these products 'shall not cause damage to the eyes or the skin in case of any exposure to laser radiation that could occur under any conditions of use including accidental or unintentional exposure'.
Manufacturers should note that conformity with the safety requirements outlined in the Decision must be demonstrated by technical means. The Decision has entered into force on 7 February 2014. Furthermore, a new version of standard EN 60825-1 (based on IEC 60825-1:2014 Ed 3.0) is expected to be published sometime in 2014.
(1) COMMISSION DECISION of 5 February 2014 on the safety requirements to be met by European standards for consumer laser products pursuant to Directive 2001/95/EC
(2) Safety of laser products - Part 1: Equipment classification and requirements