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New controls on dangerous laser pointers

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew has today announced that the Government has passed new regulations on hand-held high-power laser pointers.

"High-power laser pointers can cause eye injuries, even blindness, and skin burns. ACC accepts around 10 claims a year for these injuries," says Mrs Goodhew.

"They can also cause temporary flash blindness, which poses a serious risk if the person affected is a pilot or in charge of a vehicle or equipment. The Civil Aviation Authority reports around 100 laser strike incidents on planes each year.

"The new controls, under Health and Customs legislation, cover the import, supply and acquisition of high-power laser pointers.

"The new controls have been crafted to only target the high risk hand-held laser pointers with a power output of greater than 1 milliwatt. The regulations are in line with Australia’s restrictions and recommendations by the World Health Organization.

"Lower power devices, like those used for pointing during presentations, will not be affected. The controls also do not apply to more sophisticated laser devices such as survey instruments or rifle sights.

"The new controls restrict access to these high-power laser devices to those who have a legitimate reason to use them such as astronomers.

"People will have to apply to the Ministry of Health for approval to import, sell or acquire a high power laser pointer.

"The Ministry is developing an online application form for people who want to apply to import, supply, or acquire such devices.

The new regulatory controls will come into force on 1 March 2014.

More information on the new regulations can be found on the Ministry of Health website by searching ‘laser pointers’.

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