Fiber Optic Safety

Many people who have installed or maintained fiber optic cables fail to take safety precautions to prevent the potential hazards caused by fiber optics. Some people assume that since optical fiber doesn’t carry electricity, it can’t possibly be harmful; however, optical fiber accidents can occur unexpectedly because of this exact assumption.

When working with fiber optics and ensuring safety precautions, there are three categories involved, including eye protection, control of fiber fragments and proper use of chemicals. Below are the following hazards of working with fiber optics.

Eye Protection

When you’re working with fiber optics, it’s important to understand that your eyes can be harmed by the transmission of light. If you look directly at the transmission of frequencies, this can cause severe loss of visual acuity, or you can suffer from blind spots due to the beam being focused on your retina. Please never look directly at the transmission of light, and always protect your eyes with safety glasses when working with fiber optics.

Control of Fiber Components

The actual fibers themselves are a serious hazard, since they contain tiny pieces of glass. If possible, use a chemical-resistant, dark mat that’s as resilient as your work surface; when small fragments fall on your dark mat, you’ll be able to easily see them and pick them up with tweezers.

When you’re trimming or cutting fibers, tiny fiber fragments can cut deep into your skin and become embedded, causing skin irritation. Ingested fibers can also cause serious internal damage, since they’re light enough to float in thin air. To prevent this from happening, workers should avoid all food or drinks in a fiber optic workroom.

Chemicals and Solvents

When working with fiber optics, there are also a large number of chemicals and solvents in the facility, which are used in cleaning and splicing fiber optics. These chemicals can be very hazardous, so always keep a safe space between you and the chemicals when working.

The following are critical safety rules when working with fiber optics:

Fiber Optic Safety Rules

If you’re working with fiber optics, you and your employees must follow these safety rules. First, all employees performing any fiber optic splicing or termination activity should always wear safety glasses with side shields. Any other employees or managers on site entering the fiber optic work area should wear safety glasses as well.

Unless an employee is 100% sure that there’s no light source at the other end of the cable, they should never look directly at the end. A power meter is typically used to make sure the fiber is darker.

When working with fiber optics, it’s essential that the worker is in a well-lit and fully ventilated work environment. Workers must avoid all smoking while working with fiber optics, too. In addition, all food and beverages should be kept outside the work area. Workers can wear aprons to prevent any fiber components from getting on their clothes. If you find any fiber particles on your clothing when leaving the work area, make sure to remove them with double-sided tape.

Additionally, a worker should wash their hands before touching their eyes. If you have contact lenses, you should wash your hands thoroughly before touching the lenses. All workers and employees should read the instructional material on how to handle chemicals properly as well.

When you’re finished with your fiber optical task, all cut fibers should be disposed immediately, along with any chemicals or containers you used. The work area should also be wiped down and cleaned when the job is complete. You can dispose any fiber scraps in a tightly closed disposable container, too.

If you follow these simple but highly useful fiber optic safety procedures, then your workers and employees will be able to properly work in a safe and clean environment.

If you are interested in becoming a Certified Fiber Optics Technician, please call NCTC at 1-760-703-7439 or contact us here.