interference. These characteristics permit the
installer to have less restrictions when install-
ing fiber optic cabling, and the cabling can be run
through hazardous areas where copper cabling
cannot be installed.”
Even so, Dallas said safety is a critical ele-
ment in training fiber optic technicians.
“We are adamant about safety in all of our
fiber optic classes,” he said. “We have lectures
dedicated to the safety aspects of working with
fiber and laser lighting. Safety is reinforced every time we go into the lab and begin working
with fiber. No food or drinks are permitted in the
classroom when working on fiber.
“What installers must be cautious about is
the optical energy emitted from LEDs or lasers.
These light sources operate in the near-infrared
and infrared wavelengths and are not visible to
the eye. Because the fiber is so small, the installation technician uses a 100x, 200x or a 400x
microscope to view the end-face of the fiber for
cleanliness or damage.
“It is a must that you ensure the light source
is turned off or the fiber is removed from the
source before inspecting the end-face of the
fiber. If not, injury from the laser’s infrared wavelengths output can cause cataracts and corneal
and retinal burns. This damage will occur before
a technician becomes aware of it. The lasers
used in these systems are Class 1 lasers and are
considered safe to the naked eye, but they become a serious hazard when inspecting the fiber
using a microscope as the output from the fiber
is focused directly into your eye,” Dallas said.
For more information on the four classifications of lasers, see the Center for Devices and
Radiological Health and IEC Publication 825 and
ANSI Z136.2 for full technical definition and preventive measures.
“Other light sources commonly used when
working with fiber are Class II or Class III laser
light sources, which are in the visible spec-
trum,” Dallas said. “These sources are used
with a continuity tester to confirm the fiber
will pass light from one end to another. These
laser light sources are hazardous to the naked
eye and cause damage or partial blinding are
removed, even if they are focused on the eye
for a split second.”
The other hazard to the fiber installer occurs
when the protective buffer and acrylate coating
are removed from the fiber and the installer is
working with bare glass.
“The acrylate coating and fiber protect the
glass and permit the glass to be very flexible.
Once those items are removed, the glass becomes very stiff and easy to break. The glass
can easily splinter and pierce the skin and an
eye. The glass is also very small, 125 µm in diameter, and it is hard to see. Never have food
out or beverages in the area where fiber is being
terminated. We all need fiber in our diet, but this
is definitely the wrong fiber,” Dallas said.
GRIFFIN, a construction and tools
writer from Oklahoma City, can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Panduit QuickNet products
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• #1-8 Network/Tel ID Remotes
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