Laser incident and accident data sources

This page was created because there is no central database for incidents and accidents involving lasers.

This page points regulators, media, researchers and others to the various databases and resources that do exist. The resources listed have information primarily from the United States. See the About this site page for credits to persons who helped compile this list.

Probably the single database containing the largest number and greatest variety of laser incidents and accidents is the one maintained by Rockwell Laser Industries. It is the first one listed below.

Definitions: incident vs. accident

Here is a general definition of the difference between an "incident" and an "accident":

• An incident is an event which potentially could have caused personal injury or property damage, but did not.
• An accident is an event which caused personal injury or property damage.

These definitions appear in some NATO and ANSI documents:

Incident – An undesired occurrence that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, that does not result in harm.
Accident – An undesired occurrence that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, that results in harm. As an accident is considered unexpected, it implies that a fault condition has occurred.

In addition, each database listed below may have its own definitions.

Some sources include accidents as part of incidents (e.g., an accident is a serious incident), while other sources keep these separate for statistical purposes. So be aware that some "incident" counts may include accidents, while others may not.

For ease of discussion in the information below, we will use "incidents" generically to include both incidents and accidents.

General databases and resources

Aviation-related incidents

For additional information on aviation-related incidents, see the entry for, in the "General" section above

Medical laser devices and medically-treated incidents

Military and national laboratories

Other resources


For the group of persons who helped compile the above list, see the About this site page