Professor John O'Hagan

Pronouns: He/him
  • Visiting Professor in Laser and Optical Radiation Safety


John O’Hagan worked as a public health scientist for the UK Health Security Agency and its predecessors for 46 years before retiring from full-time employment in February 2022. He led the Laser and Optical Radiation Dosimetry Group with responsibility for advice to Government and others on all matters relating to the safety of ultraviolet radiation, light and infrared radiation, as well as laser safety. His research also included both the benefit of exposure to optical radiation and the risk arising from lack of exposure. 

In 1990 Professor O’Hagan started an ongoing relationship with the Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering on laser safety training. The first joint course was run at Burleigh Court in 1992. In 1995 he was appointed a Visiting Fellow in the School and then in 2017 a Visiting Professor. 

John O’Hagan completed his PhD at Loughborough University (1999), with undergraduate studies at the then Polytechnic of the South Bank and Oxford Polytechnic. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and of the Laser Institute of America, a Chartered Physicist, a Chartered Scientist and a Chartered Radiation Protection Professional. 

Professor O’Hagan is currently the Vice-Chair of the International Electrotechnical Commission Technical Committee 76 “Optical Radiation Safety and Laser Equipment”, a member of the Scientific Expert Group of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection and a member of the Core Group of the World Health Organization developing an international standards’ framework for non-ionizing radiation. In addition, he chairs or is a member of several international, European and national laser and optical radiation standards’ committees. Professor O’Hagan is also Chair of the National Illumination Committee of Great Britain (CIE-UK), which is the UK national committee of the International Commission on Illumination. 

Qualifications and Key Awards

  • 1906 Award – awarded by the International Electrotechnical Commission, 15 June 2007 and 30 June 2023, for work on laser safety standards. 
  • Received the 2017 R. James Rockwell Jr Award from the Laser Institute of America for my contributions in laser safety. The Rockwell Education Achievement Award recognizes individuals with outstanding contributions in safety education was presented at the 2017 International Laser Safety Conference (ILSC) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA 
  • Received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021 in the Civil Service Awards.