Fibre Optic Cabling
fibre Optic Safety

Working with fibre optics, like working with any other materials, can have some risks. However by using sensible procedures or following your local code of practice recommendations the hazards can be reduced.

COFFEE
One of the best ways to work safely at anything is by having an easily remembered procedure for dealing with the task and one of the neatest we have heard of is the COFFEE quick reference. This "acronym" is used as a quick reference and stands for the following :

C : Chemical Hazards.
Store chemicals safely and correctly labeled.
Use chemicals in well ventilated area.
Keep chemicals away from your skin and eyes and avoid ingestion.
Be familiar with COSHH (Care Of Substances Hazardous to Health) guidelines.

O : Optical Hazards.
Don't look at the end of a fibre or connector unless you are sure it is safe to do so.
Check and ensure you understand safety labeling on light sources.
Replace protective caps on the ends of unused connectors.

FF : fibre Fragments Hazards.
Dispose of all fibre fragments in a suitable container.
Keep ends of fibres away from eyes, skin and clothing.
Don't pick up fibre fragments by hand, use sticky tape for example.

E : Environmental Hazards.
Be aware of potential hazards in your working space.
Consider how your working space will affect you and your equipment.

E : Everyone.
Explain any safety issues to other people in your working space or working with you.
Respect the safety of others around you.
When appropriate erect warning signs or even barriers.


NOTE: This information is provided as a brief guide only, it is essential you take time to understand ALL the hazards you are likely to encounter AND familiarise yourself with safe working practice guidelines for your country.

Laser Safety
Light emitting lasers have the potential to cause damage to the human eye. Guidelines have been issued by the IEC - "Radiation Safety of Laser Products, Equipment Classification, Requirements and User's Guide". The guidelines are now adopted as a European standard by CENELEC.

Laser equipment is classified according to the hazard it poses to eyesight and people. The classification depends upon power levels, emission angles and wavelengths. At the time of writing the classifications were :

Class 1:
No risk to eyes or skin
Class 1 laser products are defined as safe in normal operations under reasonably foreseeable conditions, including direct viewing of the laser beam with optics that could concentrate the laser output into the eye. In addition to some intrinsically low power lasers and laser products, Class 1 laser products also include embedded products that totally enclose a higher Class of laser e.g. CD players, laser printers and most industrial laser processing machines.
Warning label: none

Class 1M:
Low risk to eyes. No risk to skin
Class 1M laser products are defined as safe in normal operations under reasonably foreseeable conditions, including direct viewing of the laser beam, but only provided the user does not employ optics that could concentrate the laser output into the eye. Unsafe conditions include use of a telescope or binoculars with a 1M laser emitting a well-collimated laser beam or use of an eye loupe or magnifier with a high divergence 1M source. 1M is a new class. It can be applied only where the laser wavelength is in the range 0.3025 to 4 m.
Warning label: LASER RADIATION. DO NOT VIEW DIRECTLY WITH OPTICAL INSTRUMENTS

Class 2:
Low risk to eyes. No risk to skin
Class 2 laser products are defined as those emitting visible light for which the natural aversion response to bright light (including the blink reflex) prevents retinal injury, including direct viewing of the laser beam with optics that could concentrate the laser output into the eye. These lasers do, however, present a dazzle hazard. Lasers that were Class 2 under the previous version of 60825-1 remain Class 2 under the new scheme*
Warning label: DO NOT STARE INTO BEAM

Class 2M:
Low risk to eyes. No risk to skin
Class 2M laser products are defined as those emitting visible light for which the natural aversion response to bright light (including the blink reflex) prevents retinal injury for direct viewing of the laser beam but, as with Class 1M laser products, only provided the user does not employ optics that could concentrate the laser output into the eye. 2M is a new class. It can be applied only where the laser wavelength is in the range 0.4 to 0.7 m.
Warning label: DO NOT STARE INTO BEAM OR VIEW DIRECTLY WITH OPTICAL INSTRUMENTS

Class 3R:
Low risk to eyes. Low risk to skin
Class 3R laser products are defined as those for which the output is up to a factor of five over the maximum allowed for Class 1 or Class 2. Because of safety factors built into the limits for these classes, the risk of injury for direct viewing of a Class 3R laser beam remains low, but greater efforts should be taken in the use of these lasers to prevent direct eye exposure, especially for invisible Class 3R lasers. This is a new class. Visible 3R incorporates many of the USA IIIa lasers and the so-called 3B-star.
Warning label: AVOID DIRECT EYE EXPOSURE (0.4 - 1.4 m) or AVOID EXPOSURE TO THE BEAM

Class 3B:
Medium risk to eyes. Low risk to skin
Class 3B laser products are defined as those for which direct exposure of the eye is hazardous, even taking aversion responses into account, but scattered laser light is usually safe. The higher power Class 3B lasers are also a skin hazard, but the natural aversion response to localised heating generally prevents a skin burn. Lasers that were Class 3B under the previous version of 60825-1 but which operate at a wavelength in the range 0.3025 to 4 m and have output beams that are either high divergence or large diameter may qualify.
Warning label: AVOID EXPOSURE TO THE BEAM

Class 4:
High risk to eyes and skin
Class 4 laser products are defined as those for which direct exposure of the eye and skin is hazardous and scattered laser light may be hazardous to the eyes. Such lasers are also a fire hazard. Lasers that were Class 4 under the previous version of 60825-1 remain Class 4 under the new scheme.
Warning label: AVOID EYE OR SKIN EXPOSURE TO DIRECT OR SCATTERED RADIATION

NOTE: The information here is provided as a guide only and whilst every effort has been made to provide accurate information, it is essential before working with any laser light source that you familiarise yourself with the current guidelines and recommendations as updates may be issued that are not reflected on our site.
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