A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use
International (non-U.S.) laws
The following are some laws and regulations relating to laser pointers. This is not a comprehensive list, and it does not cover all laser-related laws.
This list is intended to provide a starting point for additional research, and to illustrate how legislators attempt to define various terms, and regulate various actions.
Please feel free to email us with any additional laws for this list.
- AUSTRALIA: Advisory Circular - Lasers and Aircraft
- AUSTRALIA: New South Wales
- AUSTRALIA: Victoria
- AUSTRALIA: Western Australia
- CANADA: Possession of battery-powered handheld lasers over 1 mW is illegal in three cities, near airports
- CANADA: Criminal Code provisions
- CANADA: Prohibition against endangering the safety and security of aircraft
- CANADA: Canadian Aviation Regulations for directed bright light source
- EUROPEAN UNION: 2014 decision to restrict consumer lasers to 1 milliwatt by 2016
- EUROPEAN UNION: 2010 call for EU-wide restrictions on laser pointers
- NEW ZEALAND: High-power laser pointers (above 1 mW) restricted
- NEW ZEALAND: Bill introduced banning public possession of handheld lasers
- NORWAY: Possession and use regulated
- PHILIPPINES: Proposed laser assault bill
- PHILIPPINES: Proposed bill to allow only red laser pointers under 5 mW
- SWEDEN: Possession and use regulated
- SWITZERLAND: Only Class 1 laser pointers allowed for possession and use
- UK: Aviation, vehicle and assault laws
- UK: Proposed law applies to more transports; adds prison time
- UK: Proposed Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Bill introduced Dec 2017
- U.K.: FAQ from the Health and Safety Executive
- U.N./INTERNATIONAL: Prohibition on blinding laser weapons
AUSTRALIA: GeneralMacquarie University in Sydney has a laser safety information webpage including a list of standards which apply to Australia and New Zealand. Laser pointer laws are discussed later on the page. (Note that standards are different from laws. Groups such as ANSI or IEC publish voluntary standards which often guide lawmakers and regulators when they write laws. Also, institutions and companies may require their employees to follow the standards. But this is not the same as a standard directly being a legal requirement.)
See this forum posting for a summary of Australian laser pointer laws. The accuracy of the information is not guaranteed.
AUSTRALIA: Advisory Circular - Lasers and AircraftThe Australian Government's Civil Aviation Safety Authority in April 2007 issued Advisory Circular AC 139-23(0), "Laser Emissions Which May Endanger the Safety of Aircraft". This "provides general information and advice on measures to protect pilots of civil aircraft from accidental laser beam strikes, on or in the vicinity of an aerodrome."
Another document, "Summary of Responses," lists the comments received during the draft period for AC 139-23(0) (e.g., before it was officially published). The comments and responses give additional insight into the document and laser hazard mitigation.
AUSTRALIA: New South WalesThe following are excerpts from the "Summary Offences and Law Enforcement Legislation Amendment (Laser Pointers) Bill of 2008". The full text is here. In addition, there is a summary with some additional interpretation by the Newcastle Astronomical society on this webpage.
An Act to amend the Summary Offences Act 1988 to make it an offence to possess or use a laser pointer in a public place, to amend the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 to include a laser pointer as a dangerous implement within the meaning of that Act; and for other purposes.
 Section 3 (1), definition of "dangerous implement"
Insert after paragraph (d):
(e) a laser pointer,
 Section 3 (1)
Insert in alphabetical order: laser pointer means a hand-held battery-operated device, designed or adapted to emit a laser beam, that may be used for the purposes of aiming, targeting or pointing.
 Sections 26 (1) and (3) and 87 (a)
Insert "(other than a laser pointer)" after "dangerous implement" wherever occurring.
 Section 26 (1A)
Insert after section 26 (1):
(1A) A police officer may request a person who is in a public place to submit to a frisk search if the police officer suspects on reasonable grounds that the person has a laser pointer in his or her custody.
Subdivision 2 Laser pointers
11FA Custody or use of laser pointer in public place
(1) A person must not, without reasonable excuse (proof of which lies on the person):
(a) have in his or her custody a laser pointer in a public place,
(b) use a laser pointer in a public place.
Maximum penalty: 50 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years, or both.
(2) Without limitation, it is a reasonable excuse for the purposes of this section for a person:
(a) to have custody of, or use, a laser pointer if the custody or use is reasonably necessary in all the circumstances for the lawful pursuit of the person's occupation, education, training or hobby, or
(b) to have custody of a laser pointer if the person has custody during travel to or from or incidental to that occupation, education, training or hobby.
(3) The regulations may provide that this section does not apply to or in relation to any specified class or description of laser pointer.
(4) In this section: Laser pointer means a hand-held battery-operated device, designed or adapted to emit a laser beam, that may be used for the purposes of aiming, targeting or pointing.
AUSTRALIA: VictoriaA laser pointer above 1 milliwatt is a prohibited weapon. It is defined as "A hand-held, battery-operated article designed or adapted to emit a laser beam with an accessible emission limit of greater than 1 mW" according to a list of prohibited weapons.
AUSTRALIA: Western AustraliaAccording to the University of Western Australia, “It is an offence under the WA Radiation Safety Act to manufacture, sell, possess or use a laser pointer with a classification exceeding Class 1 or Class 2 as defined in Australian/New Zealand Standard 2211.”
The linked Radiation Safety Act of 1975 does not contain the word “laser”, although laser devices fall under the definition of “electronic product” as used in the Act.
The actual regulations that enforce the Act are in the Radiation Safety (General) Regulations 1983. Below is reprinted the section (Division) having to do with lasers. There are also two attachments (Schedules) having to do with Class 3B and 4 lasers which are not reprinted here.
In addition, the Radiological Council of WA has a brief summary of laser regulations here.
Radiation Safety (General) Regulations 1983
Division 2 — Lasers
(1) In this Division and in Schedules XIII and XIV, unless the contrary intention appears —
average output power means the total energy imparted during exposure divided by the duration of the exposure;
controlled area means controlled area within the meaning of subregulation (2);
laser system means functional assembly of electrical, mechanical and optical components which includes a laser;
regulated class 3B laser means —
(a) a class 3B laser with average output power greater than 5 milliwatts; or
(b) a single pulsed class 3B laser.
(2) For the purposes of this Division and of Schedules XIII and XIV, a controlled area is an area —
(a) in which the activities of persons are controlled and supervised for the purpose of protection from radiation hazards;
(b) the extent of which is determined by the person in whose name the premises in which that area is situated are registered; and
(c) which is defined by approved screens or baffles having absorbing or diffusing reflecting surfaces.
[Regulation 52 amended in Gazette 10 Oct 1986 p. 3845; 15 Oct 1996 p. 5449.]
53. Lasers to be in compliance with the laser safety standard
A person who manufactures, sells, uses or is in possession of a laser shall comply with the laser safety standard to the extent that the standard can be applied to the person in the circumstances.
[Regulation 53 inserted in Gazette 31 Dec 1999 p. 7062.]
53A. Regulations 54, 55 and 56 are in addition to regulation 53
The duties imposed on a person by regulations 54, 55 and 56 apply in addition to any duty imposed on that person by regulation 53.
[Regulation 53A inserted in Gazette 31 Dec 1999 p. 7062.]
53B. Laser pointers
(1) A person shall not manufacture, sell, use or possess a laser pointer unless —
(a) it is a class 1 or class 2 laser; or
(b) the Council has imposed a condition in relation to the registration of the laser under section 28 that it is to be used only for the purpose of entertainment.
(2) Despite subregulation (1), a person may use or possess a laser pointer if that person —
(a) is acting in the performance of his or her functions as a member of the Police Force, or a special constable appointed under Part III of the Police Act 1892;
(b) is carrying out scientific research, scientific work or scientific observations, whether or not for remuneration;
(c) is the lawful user of a firearm, within the meaning of section 4 of the Firearms Act 1973, and the laser pointer is part of a laser assisted sight for the firearm; or
(d )has the written approval of the Council to do so.
(3) Despite subregulation (1), a person may manufacture or sell a laser pointer if the person believes, on reasonable grounds, that the laser pointer is for the use of a person referred to in subregulation (2).
(4) In this regulation —
laser pointer means a laser for —
(a) pointing at objects or images; or
(b) recreation or amusement.
[Regulation 53B inserted in Gazette 31 Dec 1999 p. 7062; amended in Gazette 25 Sep 2001 p. 5287.]
54. Regulated class 3B lasers
(1) The registrant of any premises in which a regulated class 3B laser is operated or used shall —
(a) require persons on those premises to follow such approved procedures; and
(b) give such directions, as are necessary or desirable for preventing interbeam and intrabeam exposure to radiation of persons on those premises.
(2) A person —
(a) who is required to follow an approved procedure; or
(b) to whom a direction is given, under subregulation (1) shall comply with that requirement or direction, as the case requires.
(3) The registrant of any premises in which a regulated class 3B laser is operated or used shall —
(a) affix to that laser or to the protective housing of its laser system labels in accordance with the requirements of the laser safety standard; and
(b) display —
(i) while the laser is being operated or used, warning signs in conspicuous locations inside and outside the area in which that operation or use is taking place and on doors giving access to that area; and
(ii) a warning sign in a prominent position near the laser,
in accordance with the requirements of the laser safety standard.
(4) The registrant of any premises in which a regulated class 3B laser is operated or used shall ensure that the requirements of Schedule XIII are complied with in relation to that laser.
[Regulation 54 inserted in Gazette 15 Oct 1996 p. 5449‑50.]
55. Class 4 lasers
The registrant of any premises in which a class 4 laser is operated or used shall —
(a) comply with regulation 54(1), (2) and (3) as if the class 4 laser were a regulated class 3B laser; and
(b) ensure that the requirements of Schedule XIV are complied with in relation to that laser.
[Regulation 55 inserted in Gazette 15 Oct 1996 p. 5450.]
56. Requirements for enclosed lasers
(1) The registrant of any premises in which the totally enclosed laser system of a regulated class 3B laser or a class 4 laser is operated or used shall ensure that —
(a) the protective housing of that laser system limits the maximum accessible radiation to the maximum permissible exposure level specified in Tables 6 and 8 of the laser safety standard; and
(b) control measures applicable to the class of laser concerned are applied when its laser system is in normal operation; and
(c) persons who require access to that laser system for the purpose of servicing or maintaining it comply with the control measures and procedural requirements applicable to the class of laser concerned; and
(d) the laser or its laser system is provided with safety interlocks complying with Section 4.3 of the laser safety standard for any part of the protective housing the removal or displacement of which allows human access to radiation in excess of the maximum permissible exposure level specified in Tables 6 and 8 of the laser safety standard.
(2) The registrant of any premises in which a regulated class 3B laser or a class 4 laser, which is itself enclosed, or the beam path of which is enclosed, by any covers, is operated or used shall, when the laser or its laser system is being operated or used with those covers removed for the purpose of servicing, maintenance, repair, testing or any other like procedure, ensure that —
(a) the laser is operated or used only within a temporary controlled area —
(i) defined by approved non‑reflective screens or other means; and
(ii) provided with all safety measures required for persons working inside and outside it; and
(b) the illuminance level at all working sites is not less than 350 lux.
[Regulation 56 inserted in Gazette 15 Oct 1996 p. 5450‑1; amended in Gazette 17 Aug 2010 p. 4047.]
CANADA: Possession of battery-powered handheld lasers over 1 mW is illegal in three cities, near airportsThe following information is from Transport Canada’s website. Check with the website for any updates.
You may still buy and own a laser pointer—you just need to follow the new [as of June 28 2018] safety measure.
You cannot possess a hand-held laser over 1 milliwatt (mW) outside of a private dwelling within:
- municipalities within the greater Montréal, Toronto or Vancouver regions
- a 10-kilometre radius of an airport and certified heliports
You may possess a hand-held laser anywhere in Canada for any of the following reasons:
- The laser has 1 mW of power or less
- You are in possession of the laser for a legitimate purpose, such as for work, school or educational purposes.
- You are a member of an astronomy society and are in possession of the laser for that purpose. (Learn more about lasers for astronomy and laser light shows)
ENFORCEMENT AND PENALTIES
You don’t want to be caught in possession of a laser where you shouldn’t be. And you certainly don’t want to be caught aiming one at an aircraft. If you’re caught, law enforcement can issue you a fine on the spot.
If you’re stopped by law enforcement, you should be prepared to demonstrate why you’re in possession of a hand-held laser over 1 mW.
Law enforcement agencies will be trained to know when and where people may possess a laser. They will exercise their discretion and judgement when determining whether or not to issue a fine.
PENALTIES FOR POSSESSING A HAND-HELD LASER WHERE YOU SHOULDN’T BE
If a law enforcement officer stops you with a hand-held laser over 1 mW in a prohibited area, they can issue you a monetary fine on the spot unless you demonstrate legitimate reason. Under the new safety measures, the fines are:
- up to $5,000 for an individual
- up to $25,000 for a corporation
If you receive a fine for an offence under the safety measure, you may choose to pay the amount of the fine or file a written request for an appeal with the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada.
PENALTIES FOR AIMING A LASER AT AN AIRCRAFT OR INTO AIRSPACE
Shining a bright light (such as a hand-laser) into airspace is now a designated provision, which means a law enforcement officer can issue you a monetary penalty or fine on the spot. The fines are the same as for those possessing a hand-held laser where you shouldn’t be.
Intentionally interfering with the performance of flight crew to perform their duties is also a criminal offence. An example of such an offence would be intentionally shining a laser at an aircraft, which distracts a pilot and interferes with his or her ability to safely land the aircraft. Offenders will be charged under the Aeronautics Act.
If you are also convicted of intentionally interfering with an aircraft by using a laser, you could face one or both of:
- up to $100,000 in fines
- up to 5 years in prison
EXPLORE THE INTERACTIVE MAP
Use the online interactive map to learn where the new safety measure is in effect. If you plan on using your laser outside, such as in a park, be sure to check out the map before you go.
LASERS FOR ASTRONOMY AND LASER LIGHT SHOWS
Lasers are often used in astronomy to point at stars or sky features. If you plan on aiming a laser into navigable airspace, you must get permission from Transport Canada.
We give written permission if your laser use is not likely to:
- create a hazard to aviation safety
- cause damage to an aircraft
- cause injury to persons on board the aircraft
We may specify conditions necessary to ensure the safe use of the laser.
You can also speak with your local astronomy club. They may have additional information for you. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada provides information on green laser pointer usage.
Complete the proposal form (for astronomy and laser light shows)
Complete the Notice of proposal to conduct outdoor laser operation(s) [PDF, 1.6 Mb] and send it to the Transport Canada regional office closest to you. You will find specific submission details once you answer the first question in the form.
CANADA: Criminal Code provisionsUnder the Criminal Code of Canada, someone who points a laser at an aircraft could be charged with a number of different sections, depending upon the circumstances. Some of these sections carry significant penalties, up to and including life imprisonment. These criminal charges could be laid in addition to the sections under the Aeronautics Act and Canadian Aviation Regulations.
Some examples of Criminal Code sections that could be laid are as follows:
- Obstructing Public or Peace Officer, section 129(a), in the case of a law enforcement aircraft being lased
- Common Nuisance, section 180(1)
- Criminal Negligence Causing Bodily Harm / Death, section 221/220(b)
- Assault, section 266
- Assault Cause Bodily Harm, section 267(b)
- Mischief to Property, section 430(1)(b)
- Mischief Endangering Life, section 430(2)
Thanks to Constable Jeffrey Sharp, Laser Project - Airport Division, Peel Regional Police (Pearson International Airport) for this information. He notes that the above "might remove any doubt that this criminal activity will be viewed by police here as a very serious matter."
CANADA: Prohibition against endangering the safety and security of aircraftSection 7.41(1) of Part I of the Canadian Aeronautics Act is a general prohibition against behavior that endangers aircraft:
Prohibition — unruly or dangerous behaviour
7.41 (1) No person shall engage in any behaviour that endangers the safety or security of an aircraft in flight or of persons on board an aircraft in flight by intentionally
- (a) interfering with the performance of the duties of any crew member;
- (b) lessening the ability of any crew member to perform that crew member's duties; or
- (c) interfering with any person who is following the instructions of a crew member.
(2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is liable
- (a) on conviction on indictment, to a fine of not more than $100,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years, or to both; and
- (b) on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than $25,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than eighteen months, or to both.
Deeming — "in flight"
(3) For the purpose of subsection (1), an aircraft is deemed to be in flight from the time when all external doors are closed following embarkation until the time at which any external door is opened for the purpose of disembarkation.
CANADA: Canadian Aviation Regulations for directed bright light sourceThe Canadian Aviation Regulations (CAR) prohibit "projecting a bright light source" into airspace.
An interesting section, 601.22, prohibits pilots from intentionally flying into a an area where lasers are in use. This has sometimes been a problem at locations with fixed shows, such as Walt Disney World's nightly Illuminations display at EPCOT. Pilots in small aircraft will "buzz" the show to watch the fireworks and lasers. The lasers then have to be shut down if the aircraft are too close to the beams.
These are from CAR 2009-1. Since laser pointer incidents are ongoing in Canada, you may wish to check online in case these have been changed or superceded.
DIVISION II - AIRCRAFT OPERATING RESTRICTIONS AND HAZARDS TO AVIATION SAFETY
601.14 In this Division, "directed bright light source" - means any directed light source (coherent or non-coherent) including lasers, that may create a hazard to aviation safety or cause damage to an aircraft or injury to persons on board the aircraft; (source lumineuse dirigée de forte intensité)
Projection of Directed Bright Light Source at an Aircraft
601.20 Subject to section 601.21, no person shall project or cause to be projected a bright light source into navigable airspace in such a manner as to create a hazard to aviation safety or cause damage to an aircraft or injury to persons on board the aircraft.
Requirement for Notification
601.21 (1) Any person planning to project or cause to be projected a directed bright light source into navigable airspace with sufficient power to create a hazard to aviation safety shall provide written notification to the Minister before the projection.
(2) On receipt of the notification, the Minister may issue an authorization if the projection of the directed bright light source is not likely to create a hazard to aviation safety.
Requirment for Pilot-in-command
601.22 (1) No pilot-in-command shall intentionally operate an aircraft into a beam from a directed bright light source or into an area where a directed bright light source is projected, unless the aircraft is operated in accordance with an authorization issued by the Minister.
(2) The Minister may issue the authorization if the operation of the aircraft is not likely to create a hazard to aviation safety
EUROPEAN UNION: 2014 decision to restrict consumer lasers to 1 milliwatt by 2016The document is “2014/59/EU: 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 of the European Parliament and of the Council on general product safety Text with EEA relevance.”
For details, see this LaserPointerSafety.com news story.
EUROPEAN UNION: 2010 call for EU-wide restrictions on laser pointersOn November 3 2010, radiation safety authorities in Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden asked the European Commission to “immediately begin preparing a European Directive for battery-powered lasers and establish import restrictions on such items.” The goal is to allow only Class 1 and 2 pointers; lasers above 1 mW would be restricted.
Click to see the full text of the letter.
NEW ZEALAND: High-power laser pointers (above 1 mW) restrictedOn December 18 2013, New Zealand announced new regulations on handheld high-power laser pointers. They take effect March 1 2014.
Laser pointers with powers over 1 milliwatt are subject to import controls, and sales are restricted to astronomers, surveyors and a few other groups. Permission can be sought on an individual basis for other needed uses.
The new regulations do not affect possession of high-power lasers; however, there is separate legislation in Parliament which would affect possession. As of December 18 2013, this bill has not been passed.
These are the new regulations:
- The Custom Import Prohibition (High-power Laser Pointers) Order 2013 restricts the importation of high-power laser pointers to those people who have received consent from the Director-General of Health to import them. To get consent to import high-power laser pointers you need to apply to the Director-General of Health.
- Health (High-power Laser Pointers) Regulations 2013 restrict the supply of high-power laser pointers to those who are authorised suppliers and also restricts the acquisition of such devices to those who are authorised recipients. To become an authorised supplier (allowing you to sell such devices) or an authorised recipient of a high-power laser pointer you need to apply to the Director-General of Health.
People can apply to be authorised as a person or classes of persons to supply or acquire high-power lasers. For example, a person can apply for consent to import, or to import and supply, such devices. Those obtaining them from a New Zealand supplier may need to apply for consent to acquire them for their own personal use, or if required, also apply for consent to be able to sell them to others.
Details are in a LaserPointerSafety story about the new regulations, which quotes from a FAQ issued by the New Zealand Ministry of Health.
NEW ZEALAND: Bill introduced banning public possession of handheld lasersThe Summary Offences (Possession of Hand-held Lasers) Amendment Bill, Member's Bill 88-1, was introduced November 15 2012 into the New Zealand Parliament by Dr Cam Calder. It passed a first reading on September 25 2013 and was sent to the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee.
Below is the text of the bill; it is also online at the New Zealand legislature website here. LaserPointerSafety.com has reprinted a transcript of the September 25 2013 debate on the bill which is interesting reading.
General policy statement
The aim of this Bill is to have a preventative impact. Currently, there are no laws in New Zealand to govern the possession of hand-held lasers in a public place even though, just like knives, for which legislation governing their possession in a public place exists under section 13A of the Summary Offences Act 1981, hand-held lasers can, potentially, be used as offensive weapons.
While hand-held laser pointers are used appropriately by teachers and lecturers to highlight or point to an area on a screen when teaching, there are some who use these devices in an inappropriate manner. Indiscriminate use of hand-held lasers has become a major problem worldwide. Exposure to a laser beam can cause temporary or permanent blindness. This is of particular concern when a laser is used against a moving vehicle or an aircraft at night, as the short-lived flash blindness could cause momentary loss of control and subsequent crash of the vehicle or aircraft. This year there have been 16 incidents, in New Zealand alone, of laser beams being shone into an aircraft cockpit. When an offender is apprehended actually using a laser against a moving vehicle or aircraft that person can be prosecuted under section 270 of the Crimes Act 1961.
The purpose of this Bill is to have a preventative impact and make it an offence for a person to have in his or her possession a hand-held laser, in a public place, without reasonable excuse. The Bill also gives the police the power to confiscate lasers found in possession of a person in a public place.
Clause by clause analysis
Clause 1 is the Title clause.
Clause 2 provides that the Bill is to come into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.
Clause 3 provides that the Bill amends the Summary Offences Act 1981 (the Principal Act).
Clause 4 inserts a new section 13B that makes it an offence for a person to have a hand-held laser in his or her possession in a public place without reasonable excuse and provides the police with the power to seize and retain that hand-held laser.
This Act is the Summary Offences (Possession of Hand-held Lasers) Amendment Act 2012.
This Act comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.
This Act amends the Summary Offences Act 1981 (the principal Act).
New Section 13B inserted (Possession of hand-held lasers)
After section 13A, insert:
“13B Possession of hand-held lasers
“(1) Every person is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or a fine not exceeding $2,000 who, in any public place, without reasonable excuse, has any hand-held laser in his or her possession.
“(2) Any constable may without warrant seize and detain any hand-held laser which there is reasonable ground to suppose is in contravention of subsection (1).
“(3) On convicting any person of an offence against subsection (1), the court may order that the hand-held laser be forfeited to the Crown.
“(4) In this section hand-held laser means any hand-held device, designed or adapted to emit a laser beam.”
NORWAY: Possession and use regulatedAs of 1 Jan 2011, possession and use of laser pointers 5 milliwatts and above is restricted by the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority.
Highlights of the law are below. The complete document is available (in Norwegian) from NRPA here.
NORWEGIAN RADIATION PROTECTION AUTHORITY REGULATION 1380
Regulation 29 October 2010 No. 1380 on Radiation Protection and Use of Radiation (Radiation Protection Regulations) came into force on 1 January 2011, and is sanctioned by law, 12 May 2000 No. 36 on Radiation Protection and Use of Radiation (Radiation Protection Act).
The weakest laser pen can be used for purposes of teaching in or out various demonstrations. It is not known that laser pointers that are stronger than approx. 20 milliwatts can be used for anything useful. The effect of laser pointers used to point out constellations and like at night, should not exceed a maximum of 20 milliwatts. The reason is that the beam can destroy the night vision of the spectators so that they can no longer perceive weak starlight.
Although the weak laser pen (also laser class 2) can be illegal when they are part of toy or marketed as toys. This emerges from the Toy Regulations § 11 It has been several tragic accidents involving children and young people have permanent eye damage after playing with lasers.
Public space is a physical area that everyone has access to, such as roads, in nature, shops, schools, restaurants, sports fields, etc. Since the laser beam can be harmful long-distance, the provision for the area that can be taken by the laser. It will therefore involve the requirement for approval to use a laser pointer in a private room if you point out of the room through a window. To possess a laser pointing means to have it with him, for such as in pocket, purse or keeping it in your hand. This also applies if it is in transport.
When the application for approval for laser pointers, requires radiation protection regulations § 10 that shall be made in writing, and § 9 provides NRPA opportunity to set conditions for approval. We have prepared an application form. Below is given some advice for filling in this. It says also the conditions under which the NRPA will focus on when reviewing the application. We do note that the Radiation Protection Authority may revoke approvals are given (§ 11).
Laser Pointers of the older model may be incomplete mark or designed in another way than that required for laser standard.
- If it is clearly marked on the appliance in manual or accompanying papers like the Laser class 3R, 3B or 4 "(or in English or German), there is reason to believe that this is true and you have to promote an application for approval (see below) if plan to have or use it in public space.
- If it is not marked or labeled in a different manner than that required in laser standard, one cannot assess the risk belongs to the laser, and NRPA will not give approval. Then it is best to get rid of it properly show through the recycling schemes that apply to electrical equipment of this type.
- If you do not have approval for a laser pointer that can be in one of the Laser classes that requires approval, it will be illegal to take it out of your own home or bright in public space. NRPA WARN against allowing the laser pointers that can represent a danger to others, be such that they are accessible to unauthorized persons, especially children. It would be safest to get rid of these lasers in a responsible manner.
If you have a laser pointer, you must also be aware that the resale or other form of transfer must be done in a responsible manner. This follows from the Radiation Protection Act, § 5 For approval subject to laser pointers implies the requirement of reliability that you need to ask relevant approval before the transfer.
Make sure to get approval before going to purchase a laser pointer. It is easy to obtain equipment by, for example, purchases over the Internet, but it will not always be legal goods you get in. If you import the laser itself, you must ensure that there is a legitimate type of laser. See the application form to determine what information you must provide the laser. The use of the laser must also meet several requirements, some of which are mentioned in the last chapter of this guide. Radiation Protection Regulations, § 5 [immediately below] requires justification and optimization, which is essential when using strong sources of radiation.
§ 5 Eligibility and optimization
Any use of radiation should be justified. For radiation to be justified, it shall benefits by allowing radiation to be greater than the disadvantages radiation may cause. Furthermore, radiation to be optimized, ie the radiation exposure should be kept as low as practical, social and economic factors taken into account (ALARA principle - As Low As Reasonably Achievable).
An applicant for approval must provide a reason for the acquisition and the need to have a laser pointer corresponding class 3R, 3B or 4 It should also state the purpose of using can be achieved by the use of alternative means, such as laser pointers or weaker in a way that leads to reduced exposure. Useful use must be documented.
Usually, the NRPA claim written certificate from the employer if you need a laser pointer in a job such as involves teaching. For hobby use must also be documented and explained the need for example, through membership in the union engaged in astronomy, etc. Application in writing to the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, PO Box 55, 1332 Østerås, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manufacturers of lasers have a number of duties as described in the laser standard (EN 60825-1). All duties are described in Section 6.1, and information should be provided on request to suppliers and others (Chapter 6.2). The producer is obliged to inform the security aspects, including approval requirement, because the provisions of the laser standard should be followed (§ 35 of the Radiation Protection Regulations, quoted above).
APPLICATION FOR USE
Individual (name of applicant - must be 18 years ):__________________
Company / business :____________________________
Company registration number: ____________________
For business: Radiation coordinator - name :___________
Type of laser is sought: ____________________________
Laser class, classified according to EN 60825-1 (tick):
Color (wavelength): _______________________________
Model number / serial number :______________________
Application (tick one or more):
☐ Teaching, outdoor
☐ Indoor use in the demonstration / teaching
☐ Other (specify): _____________________________
Documentation that can confirm a need for a laser pointer stronger than Class 2: (employment as teaching staff, membership in the association, other)
Describe the purpose and what is attached as proof:
Why can’t a laser class 2 (typical energy below 1 mW) be used for this purpose?: ______________________________________________
Planned security measures that are adapted to the use and the appropriate laser class, cf. guide No. 12: Guidelines for safe use of powerful laser pointers:
PHILIPPINES: Proposed laser assault billIn late July 2011, Senate Bill 2888 was introduced by Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV, as a result of laser illuminations on aircraft at Manila International Airport. The Manila Bulletin reports the bill's provisions as follows:
- “Any person who uses a laser pointer, pen or similar device to distract, annoy or attack another person” faces prison terms of from three to six months, or a fine ranging from P10,000 to P100,000.
- When the attack results to damage or destruction of property, the penalty shall be three times the value of the damaged property and imprisonment of six months to one year.
- When the person attacked suffers from temporary or permanent disability or injury of any kind, the penalty shall be imprisonment from one year to three years.
- When the person attacked is operating a motor vehicle, the penalty shall be four years to eight years.
- When the person is operating an airplane or helicopter or a ship at sea, the penalty will be imprisonment ranging from eight to ten years.
PHILIPPINES: Proposed bill to allow only red laser pointers under 5 mWHouse Bill 1860, the "Laser Pointer Regulation Act", was introduced in August 2010 by Antonio F. Lagdameo, Jr. It allows red laser pointers under 5 milliwatts, and prohibits the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of any other portable battery-operated hand-held laser device.
According to an update page at the Republic of the Philippines House of Representatives, HBO 1860 has been pending with the Committee on Health since August 4 2010 (last checked September 26 2013).
A PDF version of the text of the proposed legislation is here and here (both copies should be the same, just different web servers).
SWEDEN: Possession and use regulatedThe Swedish Radiation Protection Authority's Regulations on Lasers, updated in 2008, bans the possession or use of lasers over 5 milliwatts in public space. The relevant document is the "SSMFS 2008:14". The Swedish language document is Strålsäkerhetsmyndighetens föreskrifter om lasrar. We could not find an English-language version on the Internet.
An earlier version of the Regulations, issued June 9 2005, includes a requirement for licensing for Class 3B or 4 lasers "if the intended use is entertainment, art or advertising or if there is a possibility that exposures may exceed the MPE values in public places or in the air."
A December 2008 update adds a Section 2 to the licensing requirements. Persons in Sweden must have a license for possession of Class 3B or 4 laser pointers "in a public place, within school district where the primary or secondary education is conducted, or the vehicle in a public place. The requirement for permits for possession of laser pointers in accordance with Section 2 applies not for traders who in his profession and is not user-conductor transporting or otherwise held lasers." [from Google Translate, sorry…] This new requirement went into effect February 1 2009.
An English version of the 2005 regulations is in a PDF document here. It does NOT include the 2008-added licensing requirements for possession in a public space.
A June 18 2010 news article stated that "The prohibition of strong laser-pointers came after several Swedes, including two policemen in southern Sweden, have been deliberately exposed to radiation which can cause permanent eye damage."
SWITZERLAND: Only Class 1 laser pointers allowed for possession and useOn June 16 2017 the Federal Assembly passed the Federal Act on Non-Ionizing Radiation and Sound Hazards (NISSG) which prohibited the use of laser pointers above Class 1. The corresponding ordinance on the Federal Act on the Protection against Dangers due to Non-Ionizing Radiation and Sound (V-NISSG) was passed by the Federal Council on February 27 2019.
As of June 1 2019, Switzerland banned selling, distributing, importing, or giving away laser pointers above Class 1 (0.39 milliwatts).
At the time of enactment this is the most restrictive laser pointer law of any major country, since Class 2 pointers (up to 1 milliwatt) are legal in most countries, and Class 3R pointers (up to 5 milliwatts) are legal in the U.S.
Travelers should note that laser pointers and "hybrid devices" above Class 1 that are being transported into or through Switzerland can be confiscated before entering Swiss borders. For example, a wireless mouse used for PowerPoint presentations could be confiscated if it contains a laser above Class 1.
The Swiss ban applies to all laser classes above Class 1 (1M, 1C, 2, II, 2M, 3a, IIIa, 3R, 3B, IIIb, 4 and IV) as well as pointers with no labels or markings. These are all defined as "dangerous pointers" by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health.
Persons in Switzerland who possess "dangerous pointers" except for Class 2 must cease to use them beginning on June 1 2019, and must dispose of them as electrical waste before June 1 2020.
Persons possessing Class 2 pointers can use them indoors only for presentations until June 1 2021, by which time they must be disposed of as electrical waste.
"Laser pointer" is defined as "a hand-held laser that can be used to point to things, for amusement (as a toy or in hobbies), to scare off animals or drive away other people."
More information, and links to Swiss government documents and websites in various languages, are in this news story.
UK: Aviation, vehicle and assault lawsThe following information is about laser pen offences in the U.K.
Air Navigation Order 2009 outlines two offences - directing or shining any light at any aircraft in flight so as to dazzle or distract the pilot of the aircraft, and recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft, or any person therein.
The former offence could result in a fine up to £2,500, and the latter in a fine up to £5,000, and/or five years imprisonment.
Regarding vehicles, the Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 22A(1)(a) states that causing danger to other road-users could result in a fine up to £5,000, and/or a maximum of seven years imprisonment.
If such action results in a fatal accident, then consideration will be given to an offence of manslaughter.
In cases of assault, the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 states that causing actual bodily harm or grievous bodily harm could result in a fine up to £5,000, and/or five years imprisonment.
Source: Surrey police press release as reported in Redhill and Reigate Life, June 2011. See also this story about Surrey incidents.
UK: Proposed law applies to more transports; adds prison timeThe U.K. Department for Transport on February 5 2017 said it would propose a new law making it illegal to shine laser light towards an aircraft, train, or road vehicle.
It is more stringent than the current law which 1) only applies to aiming at aircraft, 2) requires prosecutors to prove that the perpetrator endangered the aircraft and 3) has a fine of up to £2,500 (USD $3,112).
The new law will 1) apply to a wider variety of transport modes including automobiles, 2) require prosecutors only to prove that the laser was directed towards the transport vehicle and 3) will also add the prospect of prison time to the potential punishment. The exact new fines and prison terms were not stated in the DfT announcement.
More information is here.
UK: Proposed Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Bill introduced Dec 2017On December 19 2017, the Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Bill was introduced in Parliament. It makes it an offence to aim a laser at the operator of a vehicle including aircraft, trains, buses, cars, trucks, bicycles, and ships.
The bill makes it easier to prosecute, since proof of intention is no longer required. It will be an offence to shine or direct a laser towards a vehicle if it dazzles or distracts the operator, if done deliberately or if reasonable precautions to avoid doing so are not taken.
The penalty is up to five years in jail, plus a fine which has no monetary cap. (Prior to the bill, the maximum fine was £2500.)
The text of the bill is below. A summary with additional information prepared for the House of Lords is here.
A Bill to make provision creating a new offence of shining or directing a laser beam towards a vehicle.
BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—
1 Offence of shining or directing a laser beam towards a vehicle
(1) A person commits an offence if—
(a) the person shines or directs a laser beam towards a vehicle which is on a journey, and
(b) the laser beam dazzles or distracts, or is likely to dazzle or distract, a person with control of the vehicle.
(2) It is a defence to show—
(a) that the person had a reasonable excuse for shining or directing the laser beam towards the vehicle, or
(b) that the person—
(i) did not intend to shine or direct the laser beam towards the vehicle, and
(ii) exercised all due diligence and took all reasonable precautions to avoid doing so.
(3) A person is taken to have shown a fact mentioned in subsection (2) if—
(a) sufficient evidence is adduced to raise an issue with respect to it, and
(b) the contrary is not proved beyond reasonable doubt.
(4) A person who commits an offence under this section is liable—
(a) on summary conviction in England and Wales, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, to a fine or to both;
(b) on summary conviction in Scotland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both;
(c) on summary conviction in Northern Ireland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both;
(d) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, to a fine or to both.
(5) In relation to an offence committed before the coming into force of section 154(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the reference in subsection (4)(a) to 12 months is to be read as a reference to six months.
(6) In this Act “vehicle” means an aircraft, motor vehicle, pedal cycle, train, vessel, hovercraft or submarine.
(7) In relation to a motor vehicle or pedal cycle, the reference in subsection (1)(a) to a journey is to a journey made on a road.
(8) In relation to an aircraft, the reference in subsection (1)(b) to “a person with control of the vehicle” is a reference to any pilot engaged in controlling, or in monitoring the controlling of, the aircraft.
(9) In relation to a vessel, hovercraft or submarine, the reference in subsection (1)(b) to “a person with control of the vehicle” is a reference to the master, the pilot or any person engaged in navigating the vessel, hovercraft or submarine.
(10) In this Act—
“aircraft” means any thing used for travel by air;
“motor vehicle” means a mechanically propelled vehicle intended or adapted for use on roads;
(a) in relation to England and Wales and Scotland, has the meaning given by section 192(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988;
(b) in relation to Northern Ireland, has the meaning given by Article 2(1) of the Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 (S.I. 1981/154 (N.I. 1));
“train” includes a locomotive which is not coupled to anything;
“vessel” has the meaning given by section 255(1) of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995.
2 Extent, commencement and short title
(1) This Act extends to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
(2) This Act comes into force, so far as extending to England and Wales and Scotland, at the end of the period of two months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed.
(3) This Act comes into force, so far as extending to Northern Ireland—
(a) in relation to aircraft, vessels, hovercraft and submarines, at the end of the period of two months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed;
(b) in relation to other vehicles, on such day as the Secretary of State may by regulations made by statutory instrument appoint.
(4) Different days may be appointed under subsection (3)(b) for different purposes.
(5) This Act may be cited as the Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Act 2018.
U.K.: FAQ from the Health and Safety ExecutiveThis FAQ page from the Health and Safety Executive gives some information about laser pointer guidance in the U.K.
U.N./INTERNATIONAL: Prohibition on blinding laser weaponsThe 1995 Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons has been signed by 99 countries, including the U.S., as of Feb. 2011. It prohibits the use of lasers to cause permanent blindness. The full text of the protocol is:
Article 1: It is prohibited to employ laser weapons specifically designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision, that is to the naked eye or to the eye with corrective eyesight devices. The High Contracting Parties shall not transfer such weapons to any State or non-State entity.
Article 2: In the employment of laser systems, the High Contracting Parties shall take all feasible precautions to avoid the incidence of permanent blindness to unenhanced vision. Such precautions shall include training of their armed forces and other practical measures.
Article 3: Blinding as an incidental or collateral effect of the legitimate military employment of laser systems, including laser systems used against optical equipment, is not covered by the prohibition of this Protocol.
Article 4: For the purpose of this protocol "permanent blindness" means irreversible and uncorrectable loss of vision which is seriously disabling with no prospect of recovery. Serious disability is equivalent to visual acuity of less than 20/200 Snellen measured using both eyes.