ILDA strongly suggests that anyone creating or responsible for lasershows complete a Laser Safety Officer class, in order to better understand laser safety concepts and techniques.

Lasershow-specific LSO classes

ILDA offers a “Laser Safety Officer - Lasershows” class, plus three other laser safety-related classes. As of October 2019, over 150 people have successfully passed the LSO - Lasershows class and have received a Certificate of Completion. For more information, including the current class schedule, visit the ILDA LSO course webpage.

These courses are given on a semi-regular basis, perfect for individuals. They can also be given on a custom basis; for example, to train multiple people in a company or at a venue.

There are a few other companies such as LVR Optical, Laser Safety Services and Laserworld Academy which also offer lasershow-specific courses.

General-purpose LSO classes

In addition, there are many other sources for general-purpose Laser Safety Officer classes. (Do an internet search to find these.) General-purpose LSO courses usually cover industrial, scientific and medical lasers, so you should make sure whether lasershow topics such as audience scanning and aviation safety can be included by the instructor.

Contents of the ILDA course

ILDA’s course is based on the requirements of Arizona regulations, which require training for laser show operators. It also meets ANSI Z136.1 criteria for LSO training requirements in areas of safety that are applicable to laser light shows. Here are the topics covered in ILDA’s LSO course:

(1) For user personnel routinely working on or around lasers:

     (a) Fundamentals of laser operation (physical principles, construction, etc.)

     (b) Bloeffects of laser radiation on the eye and skin

     (c) Significance of specular and diffuse reflections

     (d) Non‑beam hazards of lasers (electrical, chemical, reaction by‑products, etc.)

     (e) Any ionizing radiation hazards

     (f) Laser and laser system classifications

     (g) Control measures

     (h) Overall responsibilities of management and employee

     (i) Medical surveillance practices

     (j) The need for CPR training for personnel servicing or working on lasers with exposed high voltages and/or the capability of producing potentially lethal electrical currents

(2) For the LSO or other individual responsible for the laser safety program, evaluation of hazards, and implementation of control measures, or any others if directed by management to obtain a thorough knowledge of laser safety:

     (a) The topics listed in section (1) above

     (b) Laser terminology

     (c) Types of lasers, wavelengths, pulse shapes, modes, power/energy

     (d) Basic radiometric units and measurement devices

     (e) MPE levels for eye and skin under all conditions

     (f) Laser hazard evaluations, range equations, and other calculations

     (g) IEC, ANSI and U.S. regulations. Regulatory requirements in non-U.S. countries will be reviewed but at this time (summer 2010) are not extensive.

(3) Technical considerations (Arizona note: ILDA's course does NOT include Intense Pulsed Light or IPL devices. Arizona regulators have stated to ILDA that this is OK for laser show producers and operators, since they do not use IPLs.)

     (a) Laser device descriptions

     (b) Defnitions

     (c) Laser device radiation fundamentals

     (d) Laser mediums and types of lasers (includes information regarding diodes and solid, liquid and gas laser devices)

     (e) Biological effects of laser light

     (f) Damage mechanisms
    i. Eye hazard
    ii. Skin hazard
    iii. Absorption and wavelength effects
    iv. Thermal effects

     (g) Photo chemistry

     (h) Photosensitive medications are NOT covered as this is an IPL consideration

     (i) Criteria for setting the Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE) levels for eye and skin associated hazards

     (j) Explosive, electrical and chemical hazards

     (k) Fire, ionizing radiation, cyrogenic hazards and other hazards as applicable

1-page "instant" laser safety officer course

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has an excellent Laser Hazards webpage. It contains a summary of information that would normally be covered in a Laser Safety Officer course.

The OSHA webpage is highly recommended for anyone wanting more in-depth information.

Note that this website,, is focused on the hazards of lightshow-type visible lasers. The OSHA webpage covers additional types of lasers such as infrared and ultraviolet lasers, and lasers used for industry, research, medicine, etc. The OSHA webpage does NOT cover audience scanning and FAA outdoor safety issues that are specific to lasershows.

Here are the topics covered in the OSHA Laser Hazards webpage: