Safety for Fiber Optic Technicians and the Telecom Workforce 🛑

Jan 6 / FiberWizards
Fiber optic technicians and telecom personnel are responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing fiber optic network systems, which might involve working with lasers, precision equipment, micro-scale glass fragments, heights, tools, and near or with utility or electrical infrastructure; therefore, it is crucial for fiber optic technicians to follow safety practices to prevent injuries and accidents. Though this article covers some of the main safety practices...

Read more below:
Fiber optic technicians and telecom personnel are responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing fiber optic network systems, which might involve working with lasers, precision equipment, micro-scale glass fragments, heights, tools, and working near or with utility or electrical infrastructure; therefore, it is crucial for fiber optic technicians to follow safety practices to prevent injuries and accidents. Though this article covers some of the main safety practices for fiber related work, these are not exhaustive of everything they need to know and follow about safety practices, so make sure to familiarize with any job specific requirements or local regulations, as well as meet any OSHA training and qualification requirements. 

First and foremost, laser safety is a top priority when working with fiber optic cables. Laser radiation can be hazardous to the eyes and skin. Most fiber optic systems work in the infrared range (invisible to human eye) of the electromagnetic spectrum, so it is important to follow proper precautions including checking with a power meter, or other detection tool, to make sure that fibers are not active before injecting connectors, as well as not looking directly or too close at connector ends to avoid risks of eye injury.

Working on heights can also pose a risk for fiber optic technicians, as they may need to climb poles or work on rooftops. It is important to use proper fall protection equipment, such as harnesses and lanyards, and to follow proper procedures for working at heights.

In addition to laser safety and working on heights, fiber optic technicians should also be sure to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary. This may include protective eyewear, gloves, safety vests, protective headgear, and appropriate clothing to protect against cuts, bruises, and other injuries.

Traffic management is another important safety practice for fiber optic technicians, as they may be working on roads or near traffic. It is important to set up appropriate warning signs and barriers to alert drivers and pedestrians of the work area.

Fiber optic technicians should also be aware of minimum approximation distances (MAD) when working near electrical infrastructure. MAD refers to the minimum distance that a person must maintain from energized electrical conductors to prevent electrical shock. Likewise, maintaining proper clearances from ground, buildings, structures, or others, when installing aerial fiber cables.

Electrical hazards are another potential risk for fiber optic technicians, and it is important to follow proper procedures for working with electrical equipment and to be aware of potential electrical hazards, such as live wires and damaged cables.

Using proper tools and equipment for the specific task is also another essential safety practice for fiber optic work. Not only will these make the work safer for the tech, but will also prevent cable or equipment damage, as well as support task efficiency.

Finally, fiber optic technicians should have appropriate training, be qualified for the jobs, and be aware of OSHA, NESC, NEC, and other local regulations related to safety practices in their line of work. Adhering to these regulations can help prevent accidents and injuries on the job.

 It all starts with training, so let’s go!

If you are new to the fiber world, we recommend getting industry standard based, vendor-neutral, certification training. Contact us for Fiber Optic Association (FOA) approved training and certification programs and options.

FiberWizards!