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Fiber Optic Safety and Installation

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By Missyw77
Words 2063
Pages 9
• PPE

This acronym stands for Personal Protective Equipment. This term refers to the necessary equipment or goods that will ensure the safety of the individuals installing the wires and the individuals using them later for maintenance and other purposes. This equipment includes helmets, protective clothing, goggles, and other equipment or garment or that is designed for the sake of protecting the workers from injury.

• Safe Work Habits

The very first step that needs to be taken is to ensure that the optic fiber and copper cables that are about to be installed should comply with all the three requirements that includes the federal regulations, the international standards and the companies requirements. It is also important to wear your PPE and have the proper tools needed for the job. These are the safety rules that need to be followed with fiber optic and copper cable installation:

1. Keep all food and beverages out of the work area. If fiber particles are ingested they can cause internal hemorrhaging
2. Wear disposable aprons to minimize fiber particles on your clothing. Fiber particles on your clothing can later get into food, drinks, and/or be ingested by other means.
3. Always wear safety glasses with side shields and protective gloves. Treat fiber optic splinters the same as you would glass splinters.
4. Never look directly into the end of fiber cables until you are positive that there is no light source at the other end. Use a fiber optic power meter to make certain the fiber is dark. When using an optical tracer or continuity checker, look at the fiber from an angle at least 6 inches away from your eye to determine if the visible light is present.
5. Only work in well ventilated areas.
6. Contact wearers must not handle their lenses until they have thoroughly washed their hands.
7. Do not touch your eyes while working with fiber optic systems until they have been thoroughly washed.
8. Keep all combustible materials safely away from the curing ovens.
9. Put all cut fiber pieces in a safe place.
10. Thoroughly clean your work area when you are done.
11. Do not smoke while working with fiber optic systems.

• Light Sources

Fiber optic light source is used for optical network installation, test and maintenance. It is typically used with power meters. There are different models of fiber optic light sources to meet the requirement of CATV, fiber optic communications and sensor applications. Fiber optic light source is a fiber optic test equipment to measure the fiber optic loss for both single mode fiber cable and multimode fiber cables; usually the optical light source is used with the fiber optic power meters.

• Federal Regulations and International Standards

The NECA/FOA 301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard is what we need to follow. It includes many detail about safety and protocols in fiber optic installation. The standard is over 40 pages long and will be distributed to anyone involved in the installation and will referenced during all steps of the installation process.

• Laser Safety

Optical sources used in fiber optics, especially LEDs used in premises networks, are of much lower power levels than used for laser surgery or cutting material. The light that exits an optical fiber is also spreading out in a cone, so the farther away from the end of the fiber your eye is, the lower the amount of power your eye receives. If you are using a microscope, which can efficiently focus all the light into your eye, it should have infrared filters to reduce the danger of invisible infrared light.
The infrared light in fiber optic links is at a wavelength that cannot penetrate your eye easily because it's absorbed by the water in your eyeball. Light in the 1300-1550 nm range is unlikely to damage your retina, but might harm the cornea or lens.
A typical laser pointer, which has a beam that is collimated (not expanding), and is at visible wavelength (650 nm) where the eye is transparent, is probably more danger to the retina than a fiber optic link. However, it's not a good idea to look into a fiber unless you know no source is being transmitted down it. Since the light is infrared, you can't see it, which means you cannot tell if there is light present by looking at it. You should always check the fiber with a power meter before examining it.

• Handling Fiber

The broken ends of fibers and scraps of fiber created during termination and splicing can be extremely dangerous. The ends are extremely sharp and can easily penetrate your skin. They are prone to break off and are very hard to find and remove. Sometimes a pair of tweezers and perhaps a magnifying glass will get them out. Most of the time, you have to wait to let them infect and work themselves out, which hurts. Be careful when handling fibers to not stick the broken ends into your fingers. Dispose of all scraps properly.

• Chemicals

Fiber optic splicing and termination use various chemical cleaners and adhesives as part of the processes. Normal handling procedures for these substances should be observed. Even simple isopropyl alcohol, used as a cleaner, is flammable and should be handled carefully. Manufacturers will supply "material safety data sheets" (MSDS) on request or they may be found on the Internet
• Site Safety

Safety in the lab or on the job site must be the number one concern of everyone. Besides the usual safety issues for construction, generally covered under OSHA rules, fiber optics adds concerns for eye safety, chemicals, sparks from fusion splicing, disposal of fiber shards and more. Before beginning any installation, safety rules should be posted on the classroom wall, lab wall or on the job site and reviewed with all onsite personnel. All personnel must wear the usual construction safety gear plus everyone must wear eye protection whenever working with fiber.

• Electrical

Electrical safety has a lot to do with fiber optics. Fiber cables are often installed around electrical cables. Electricians are well-trained in electrical safety, but some fiber optic installers are not. Without proper precautions and training, installers working around electrical wires can suffer injury and in some cases, even death. So even if the fiber is not conductive, fiber hardware can conduct electricity or the installer can come in contact with live electrical wires when working in proximity to AC power. It is important to proceed with caution when working around electrical cables.

It is also important to take precautions when working around electrical wires while installing copper cables. The following are some safety precautions for copper cable installation, taken from www.lifetips.com:

• Wear safety glasses: if you're working in a crawl space or above a dropped ceiling, you never know what might fall from above or what you might lean into.
• Use common sense with ladders: don't stand on the top two steps and don't overreach. Move the ladder as you work.
• Wear protective clothing: wearing long shirts and pants will protect you from minor cuts and keep materials from rubbing against your skin.
• Don't be careless when lifting: bend your knees and keep your back straight and don't be afraid to ask for help.
• Don't use power tools unless you know how to use them: if you use a saw or drill, work from a stable position. To avoid making dust fly when you drill, place a damp sponge over the surface to be drilled and then drill through the sponge. Don't trip over lengthy extension cords. Don't leave tools lying around.
• Be wary of electrical cable: especially cables in ceilings and walls because you never know when they might be live. Know where the nearest fire extinguisher is.
• Know local code: building code may prohibit drilling holes in fire walls or ceilings. Some buildings may contain asbestos or another material that must be handled by trained technicians. If you find damaged insulation, don't run cable in that area. If your plan includes routing cable through spaces where air is circulated, you may need to use fire-rated (also called plenum-rated) cable.

• Ladders
Cable trays or ladder racks provide a convenient, safe, efficient location in which to install optical-fiber cable. Trays or ladders can be installed in ceilings, below floors and in riser shafts. Some trays are designed to be aesthetically pleasing, so they can be placed below the ceiling and in the line of vision. Ladder or tray installation usually precedes pulling the fiber cable, because trays can be used for many other types of cable. This means that a tray distribution system may already exist. These routes may be used for installing new cable if they run to appropriate locations.
Although a ladder provides sturdy support and basic protection for cable, there are still stresses to which the cable may be subjected. Optical-fiber cable should always be run in trays or ladders to avoid as much tension, crushing and bending as possible. Routes should be inspected for sharp turns, snags (sometimes from other cables) and rough surfaces. Try to run the fiber cable without pulling it under or between heavier cable and multiple cables that may stress the fiber.
• Trenches

Underground cables are pulled in conduit that is buried underground, usually 3-4 feet deep to reduce the likelihood of accidentally being dug up. The process usually begins with digging a trench to bury the conduit which is generally 4 inch plastic pipe, sometimes with pre-installed inner duct with a pulling tape to facilitate the actual cable pulling process. Directional boring can also be used to avoid digging up the surface, for example in crossing streets or sidewalks. If the conduit and cables are all dielectric, a conductive marker tape may be buried about a foot above the conduit to assist in future cable location and as a warning to anyone digging in the vicinity of the cable.

• Injury

The safety hazards that go with fiber optic cable is critical for those who install or maintain fiber optic systems. It's a lack of understanding that poses the greatest threat to those of us installing or maintaining fiber optic systems. One of the dangers is invisible light. Dangerous situations arise when untrained people pick up a live fiber, and look directly into it. They see no light. Therefore, they assume there's no danger. However, such unsuspecting people can end up with a burned retina in a very short time. It is also possible for you to suffer injury by mishandling polished optical fibers, but only under certain circumstances, including: 1. the light source must be high-powered. Only the more powerful lasers are strong enough to cause injury. For example, some Cable TV lasers are powerful enough to do damage. 2. The beam of light exiting the fiber must be narrow.
A more serious hazard of optical fiber work is the fibers themselves. Fibers are pieces of glass. And like all glass, they can cause injury. You'll be surprised to know that jabbing yourself with a fiber is not the most hazardous situation. The real danger is when fibers are stripped, trimmed, and cut. These operations result in short, nearly microscopic pieces of glass lying around a work area. These are short, thin, invisible needles. As sharp and thin as these glass shards are, they can easily penetrate your skin. And unlike a wood sliver, these glass slivers will not degrade inside your skin. These cut pieces of fiber are very dangerous. If they were to end up in your lunch, they could cause internal bleeding and conceivably death. Because of this, you need to handle fiber with care to avoid injury.

• Chemical Exposure

The process of splicing and terminating fiber optic cables can require the use of chemical cleaners and adhesives. These need to be handled carefully as they can include irritant and flammable substances. You need to follow the manufacturer's guidelines for handling each substance.

• Fire

There are different types of flame retardant cables that can be installed and standards to follow that will ensure fire safety during installation. Another important part of cable installation is to ensure that the cable containment systems minimize smoke and flame spread. Also included in these standards is the removal of redundant cable so that it reduces the available fuel load in any fire situation.

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