Over the years, fiber optic cables have improved voice and data communication in countless applications. Not only is the flexibility of the technology remarkable, but developments in the various systems of communication have shown even more uses for fiber optics. At the same time, it is important to be aware of these fiber safety tips as there are health dangers, some of which may be difficult to detect yet can be avoided by taking the proper precautionary steps.
Here are ten fiber safety tips to protect your workers as they work with fiber optics:
- Protect their eyes
Every worker in the area must wear safety glasses with side shields. Fiber shards and splinters could enter the eyes, so even those who already wear glasses must also use safety glasses.
- Avoid food and drinks
Tiny glass fibers could be floating in the air wherever fiber optics are being produced or installed. Something as simple as a drink of water might carry slivers of glass into the throat and esophagus where they can cause lacerations and internal hemorrhages.
- Warn them against touching their face
Although some people thoughtlessly touch their faces at work, they will need to break that habit when they work with fiber optics. Small splinters from the fibers can enter the soft skin on the face and be hard to remove.
- Wear disposable lab aprons
Every worker should be provided with protective aprons to reduce the fiber particles that collect on their clothing. If these particles collect on clothing, they could be ingested later through food, drink, or the air.
- Provide a well-ventilated work area
Your workers need to be breathing clean air as part of a safe working environment. Tiny glass particles become dislodged when the fiber optic cables are moved. A well-ventilated area will help move the particles away from the workers.
- Use caution when looking into the end of a cable
Before they look into the end of a fiber optic cable, your workers should always use an optical tracer or continuity checker to ensure that the fiber is dark. A power meter can confirm that there is no light source at the other end of the cable.
- Keep combustible materials at a safe distance
Equipment such as curing ovens and fusion splicers can ignite flammable materials. Your workers should always make sure there are no dangerous materials near this equipment.
- Contact lens wearers beware!
Those who wear contact lenses must always wash their hands thoroughly before handling their lenses. Glass shards can be transferred to the surface of the eye and cause lacerations.
- Dispose of scraps properly
Don’t allow your workers to leave scraps of fiber optic material on the shop floor. Walking on them can cause particles to be dislodged and enter the air.
- Keep all work areas clean
A well-organized cleaning effort for each work area will ensure the safety of all your employees.
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