To the question of regulatory environment on laser safety
Reviewing of this document shows that the professional discussion carried the last several years among specialists in laser safety [1–3], unfortunately, has not lead yet to appearance of the qualitative modern normative document regulating the laser safety (LS) in our country.
Let us consider as briefly as possible the current state of the domestic regulatory base on LS. More than a quarter of century has already passed from the moment of one of the first domestic standards for LS development, namely, SanPiN No. 5804–91 "Sanitary standards and rules of the arrangement and operation of lasers". The basis of this document is a regulation of the maximum permissible levels of a laser radiation in case of lasers operation (or in a broader sense of laser products). As the consequence of a given regulation on maximum permissible levels the classification of lasers on level of generated radiation hazard for a person (service personnel) is also considered in the document. Its authors suggest persistently to use this document as well as at this time [1,4].
SanPiN No. 5804–91 is of the same age with the other fundamental document in the field of LS, i. e. GOST R 50723–94 "Laser safety. General requirements for development and operation the laser products’ (almost identical in the text GOST 31581–2012 has been accepted since 2015 to replace it). This document places emphasis on the international experience in lasers classification by a level of their hazard (the IECs’ standards series 825–1) which differs significantly from similar aspect in SanPiN No. 5804–91 due to distinctions in determination of maximum permissible levels for laser radiation. Perhaps for this reason simultaneous application in the territory of the Russian Federation is confirmed in SanPiN No. 5804–91 and GOST 31581–2012 (the note to paragraph 10 of GOST 31581–2012).
At last, quite recently SanPiN 188.8.131.5259–16 (Section 8 "Laser Radiation in Workplaces") mentioned in the beginning of the article were accepted. The attempt of combination of international and domestic standards requirements for LS is made. With this purpose two following obviously differing documents are put in a basis of SanPiN data: tables of maximum permissible levels’ values of laser radiation removed from SanPiN No. 5804–91, and lasers classification on hazard level is taken from the base international standard  in which maximum permissible levels’ values differ more than by almost one order from domestic regulations! Thus, republished SanPiN 184.108.40.20659–16 in the part devoted to laser radiation safety, unfortunately, has not removed the existing normative confusion in this question.
It is necessary to mention separately the attempts of international standards direct transfer in the domestic regulatory base on LS, first of all . It was already said [2,3] that the translation of the primary source of this GOST is made so unsuccessfully that it is very difficult to use it, besides, there are actual errors in tables of the same maximum permissible levels’ values (for example, in the table A.1 the value of maximum permissible levels for wavelength 1.06 is underestimated by 1000 times in comparison with the original English version of this standard).
What should vendors and customers of the laser equipment do and what standards to be guided with at LS assessment?
It would seem that the most internally integral is a time-honored SanPiN No. 5804–91. However, it is difficult not to note that there have been many changes for last 25 years, here are only some of them:
• new types of lasers have appeared and capacities of technological lasers grew in thousands of times;
• the stock of measuring equipment for fixing a low level reflected and scattered laser radiation was repeatedly updated, and its accuracy has been increased and the ranges has been extended;
• at last, lasers have been also widely used for a long period of time in medicine, and, undoubtedly, new data including an adverse effect of laser radiation on the person have been obtained for last decades.
An attempt to consider these changes somehow, in particular, to remove out of date requirements of SanPiN No. 5804–91 and to consider foreign experience is undertaken in the new SanPiN 220.127.116.1159–16 (p. 8). However, inconsistency (see above), and also information absence on the modern administrative and technical measures in case of LS observance are peculiar to this document.
At the same time it is impossible to dispute the fact that the scale and experience of laser technologies usage in Europe and the USA are still much more than domestic. High-power technological lasers have long been used for cutting and welding of metals long ago, besides 3D – modeling using lasers is intensively developed, etc. All these extensive applications of a powerful laser radiation also imply great attention to LS observance. Even the large monographs entirely devoted to a subject of laser safety  are published while similar domestic works are unknown. Therefore there are serious reasons to assume that the intensive development of laser technologies are considered in the number of international standards on LS updated each several years.
Proceeding from everything mentioned the authors of article think it is expedient to develop the basic domestic standard on laser safety (along with the accompanying regulating documents) the most compatible and consistent with similar international standards in the circumstances. And standards of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) aren’t the single presentation of laser safety problems, and, perhaps, it is necessary to pay attention also to other authoritative regulating documents in the field of LS, for example, the American standards of ANSI series Z136.1 [7,8]. At common consistency with the IEC standards on LS, the standards [8,9] are deferent in shorter and more clear material presentation, and a number of specific administrative and technical proposals on implementation of LS activities.
In case of successful execution of an objective, it is necessary to cancel outdated GOSTs and SanPiNs to eliminate normative confusion in this field.
In conclusion it should be marked that the laser safety is urgent only along with development of lasers and laser technologies. And the present situation is that nearly two tens of operating standards and SanPiNs on laser safety (of different limitation period) adjoin, for example, to almost total absence of domestic standards on the modern lasers and laser technologies (welding, cutting, heat treatment, etc.).
The authors of this article consider that for the purpose of an acceleration of new technologies implementation in economy of the Russian Federation it is necessary to adopt the useful international experience as soon as possible, including in the field of the regulatory environment on laser safety.