laser-treatmentUse of laser and light-based treatments for skin rejuvenation and corrective procedures such as tattoo removal is booming and the potential customer base grows daily.

As high-profile medical professionals lobby for laser procedures to be ruled a doctor-only procedure, it is more important than ever that salon, spa or non-mediclinic owners already performing these treatments or contemplating buying equipment fully understand what comes with the territory. On Page 86 of our latest, May 2014, issue we explain what’s what.

ARPANSA – the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency – is the Federal body tasked with creating nationwide guidelines and standards for best practice.

However, the situation is complicated by the fact that currently regulations, restrictions and enforcement on the use of Class 4 lasers are on a state-by-state basis.

While reputable laser device distributors and manufacturers will usually offer such guidance and also access to certain aspects of training, the onus is often left to individual practitioners to ensure they are adequately trained, experienced and accredited. To that end, the state of play around Australia is:

‘ Queensland: Radiation Health, Health Protection Unit, Queensland Health, is the regulatory body. Queensland allows for certain Class 4 lasers to be used by suitably trained nurses and therapists for treatments such as hair and tattoo removal, but restrict surgical and fully ablative systems such as C02 lasers to physicians only

‘ Tasmania: Radiation Protection Unit, Department of Health and Human Services, is the regulatory body. The unit has also proposed new rules and licensing around what Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) devices can be used, and how it should be used.

‘ Western Australia: Radiological Council, Department of Health, is the regulatory body. There is a blanket ban on the use of Class 4 therapeutic lasers for all people other than suitably licensed medical practitioners. This ban on nurses and laser therapists effectively removes Class 4 lasers from the reach of the typical industry operators who perform the bulk of treatments such as laser hair removal and tattoo removal. In the following states the

‘ The states of NSW, Victoria and South Australia have effectively no regulation on IPL or laser devices despite numerous calls by the industry and by medical practitioners. So far there has been no change to this situation.

Because of this, all doctors, nurses and therapists are advised to attend a comprehensive and accredited laser safety training course, notably the Laser Safety Course (LSA) before investing in or using any laser or IPL device.

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