Laser Interlock® Systems for Operating TheatresBased upon the market leading ICS series of laser Interlock® controllers

Touch screen interlock controller for hospitals
The ICS-Touch Interlock® is the latest Touch screen interlock controller for hospitals

This system is based upon the market leading ICS series of laser Interlock® controllers, which have been installed in thousands of locations across the UK and beyond. Lasermet has a long track record in the field of laser interlocks and has been manufacturing and installing these systems since 1996.

When installing in Operating Theatres a configuration designed especially to address the particular needs of Surgeons and other theatre staff is used. This configuration called a ‘locking Interlock® system’.  As well as performing Interlock® functions the system will automatically switch the illuminated laser warning signs.

Please contact our sales department with details of the operating theatre size, number of doors etc, and we will be pleased to offer a quotation for supply, installation and commissioning.

Requirement for Interlocks

The Department of Health document entitled ‘DB2008: Guidance on the safe use of lasers, intense light source systems and LEDs in medical, surgical, dental and aesthetic practices’ states that (within the hierarchy for controlling safety under the heading for Equipment/Engineering), Control measures will include the device interlocks, room interlocks (if appropriate), warning lights, barriers and laser-proof blinds etc.

The Controlled Area is where specific protective control measures are required and includes the region where the MPE is exceeded. This applies to many if not most lasers used in operating theatre practice.

Additionally the document adopted by the UK as the Laser Safety User Guide (IEC TR 60825-14 ‘Safety of Laser Products Part 14 – A Users Guide) states that interlocks should be used for all Class 3B and Class 4 lasers unless a risk assessment can show that they are not necessary.

Laser protection

Lasermet’s Interlock® controller with the emergency stop and Interlock® override push buttons

Traditionally, interlocks have been unpopular in hospitals as they can disable the laser at the time when the surgeon wants to use it. Lasermet have addressed this problem by designing a laser Interlock® system which both protects the staff and protects the integrity of the operation by preventing interruptions to the laser. This is achieved by using maglocks on the doors which are powered up whenever the laser is enabled, so preventing casual opening of doors.

Authorised override by the use of a keypad code enables suitably prepared staff to still enter or leave the theatre without interruption to the laser. This system has been installed in many operating theatres enabling lasers to be used uninterrupted and without risk to staff.

Laser safety in hospital theatres

The need for laser safety systems and laser safety equipment in hospital operating theatres, to conform to the relevant laser safety standards and hospital requirements, has been addressed by Lasermet for many years. Ensuring the safety of patients, staff and other personnel is paramount and this has been formalised in the following guidance documents.

HBN26 (issued by NHS Estates) and DB2008 (issued by the MHRA) are two of the relevant guidance documents in the UK

The MHRA is an executive agency of the Department of Health and is responsible for the regulation of medicines and medical devices and equipment used in healthcare and the investigation of harmful incidents. It uses the following document:

DB2008 (03) Device Bulletin – Guidance on the safe use of lasers, intense light source systems and LEDs in medical, surgical, dental and aesthetic practices

Relevant extracts from this document are as follows…

The document is suitable for all personnel who are associated with the purchase, supply, installation, use and maintenance of medical, dental and cosmetic lasers, IPL systems and LEDs. The first part of Section 5.1 of DB2008 (03) refers to safety mechanisms and controlling hazards

Hierarchy for controlling safety

  • equipment/engineering
  • administration
  • personal

To minimise risk, equipment/engineering and administration safety control measures should be established first, prior to introducing personal protective measures.


Control measures will include the device interlocks, room interlocks (if appropriate), warning lights, barriers and laser-proof blinds etc. The complete guide is available at the following link:-


A laser ‘Controlled Area’ is the region around the laser where people may be present and in which specific protective control measures are required. The Controlled Area should include the region around the equipment where the maximum permissible exposure (MPE) level is exceeded. Maximum permissible exposure, MPE, is the highest level of laser exposure at the eye or skin that is generally considered safe.

If within the equipment area the level of direct, reflected, or scattered optical radiation achieved during normal operation, exceeds the applicable MPE, the area will be subject to control and supervision for the purpose of protection from the radiation hazard.

The MHRA’s recommends the following:

Controlling access

A number of methods can be employed to control access when the laser or IPL is in use. The mechanism most suitable to a particular environment should be employed. These may include the following:

  • knock and wait to be admitted
  • key pad lock
  • interlocks (door or equipment)

HBN26 Facilities for Surgical Procedures – issued by NHS Estates

NHS Estates describe this document as Guidance on facilities for in-patient operating theatres in acute general hospitals and its purpose is Best Practice Guidance.

Relevant extracts from this document are as follows…

4.79 Doors within the operating suite all doors should be fitted with vision panels capable of being obscured, and have laser proof blinds…

Theatre warning light

4.91 Each theatre requires a light warning when laser surgery and X-rays are being undertaken. The lights should be located in the corridor above the theatre doors…

Use of lasers in the operating theatre

7.120 Where lasers are to be used in an operating theatre, safety precautions in accordance with BS EN 60825 should be employed, including the provision of warning lamps at the entrances to the theatre and door interlocks preventing entry to the theatre when the laser is in use…

Lasermet’s laser safety systems meet the requirements of these documents and the relevant laser safety standards.

Please contact Lasermet for details on integrating laser safety interlocks for hospital theatres and your specific requirements

The London Clinic uses Lasermet’s Interlock® controller to ensure laser safety

To find out more about Laser Interlock® Systems for Operating Theatres, contact us now!

Call us now: 01202 770740

Email: [email protected]

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