• Safety Procedures for Handling Optical Fiber Cables
    22nd March 2021

    Safety Procedures for Handling Optical Fiber Cables

Cable installation professionals face safety hazards when they work on optic fiber cables. Even though these cables do not carry electricity, they do transmit light which damages the eye. Hence while handling these fibers, stringent occupational and safety regulations need to be kept in mind.

Note that all optical cables are sensitive to damage during handling and installation. Below are parameters that need attention during installation:

Bending Radius

Optical fiber cables are designed with a particular minimum bending radius and must never be bent beyond the limit. Exceeding the minimum radius can cause internal breaks and damage to the fibers, which are not outwardly visible. The cables are designed for a particular pulling tension, tensile strength and twisting.

It is advisable to use grips with swivel, lubricants compatible with cable jacket and duct material to achieve maximum pulling distance.

Laser Precaution

Laser beams used in optical communication are invisible. Installers that are unfamiliar with the technology may look at the fiber’s end to verify light transmission which is hazardous. Although direct viewing does not cause any pain, severe damage can be done as the iris of the eye doesn’t close involuntarily to protect the retina.

To determine if the visible light is present, view from an angle at least 6 inches away from your eye. In case of accidental exposure to the laser beam, immediately rush for medical assistance.

Handling precautions

Glass-fiber scraps generated during termination and splicing (joining of fiber cables) pose a safety hazard. Since they are tiny and transparent, they easily penetrate the skin and are difficult to extract. Most cases they need to be extracted via a pair of tweezers and magnifying glass. However, many times splinters cannot be spotted until the area becomes inflamed. Any delay in removal could spread infection which could be fatal.
A few safety measures to keep in mind:

– Always wear safety goggles, safety belts, protective helmets and gloves.
– Wear disposable aprons to minimize fiber particles on your clothing.
– Fiber optic works are to be done in well-ventilated and well-lit areas, away from combustible materials.
– Ensure the insulation tools and equipment are in proper condition, which could otherwise damage cables or cause injury to personnel.

Fire Safety
Fusion splicing process can cause electric sparks. It is advisable not to be done near manholes where flammable gases can accumulate due to leaking pipelines. To ensure good splicing, the cables should be brought to the surface into a temperature-controlled splicing trailer for fiber work, which should be kept spotlessly clean.

In addition, do not smoke near fiber optic work. The ashes from smoking contribute to the dust problem and risk the danger of an explosion due to the presence of combustible substances.

Aerial Installation Safety

Before climbing a pole, inspect it for issues like splintering, insect nests, sharp protrusions. The use of leather gloves is necessary when climbing or getting down and while using sharp instruments. However, rubber gloves should be used when working near exposed electrical circuits to avoid electric shock.

Cable Pulling Safety

An ideal distance should be maintained from the area during the cable pulling around a stationed hardware. Limit the number of people to skilled workers during tensioning operations to minimize the risk of injury. It should also be noted that no one should be allowed to climb on intermediate poles and all passersby on the ground should be diverted from poles during tensioning with suitable warning / safety display boards at the site.

Practice all safety measures near the installation site and keep hands free from tools when climbing the pole or ladder.

Following these simple safety practices can safeguard employees and keep the work environment safe.

Electric Way supplies a comprehensive range of fibre optic cables, manufactured in accordance with international standards including IEC 60332-1. Our team is well trained and experienced to take care of both indoor and outdoor optical fiber cable installations for transmitting telephone calls, transferring data over vast computer networks and other varied applications. Get in touch with us on +971 4 817 0777 or for your cable requirements.

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