Laser Safety in Fibre Optics

Lucid are uniquely placed to offer the best and most appropriate laser safety services for the communications cabling (fibre optics) industry. This is because, in addition to our accepted expertise in the general field of laser safety, we are also fibre optics experts. In addition we have staff who sit on the international committee for laser safety in fibre optic communications systems (IEC 60825-2) and we have staff who have delivered training in fibre optic amplification principles – both EDFA and Raman to an advanced level.

Fibre optic communications systems have, with the notable exception of cable-TV systems, traditionally used relatively low power laser transmitters, and consequently the laser safety hazard could be largely ignored. More modern fibre optic systems are now using higher power laser transmitters with optical amplifiers, and laser safety can not be ignored for these systems.

Laser Safety Audits

A particular peculiarity of fibre optic communication systems is the number of equipment rooms and locations a telecommunications network comprises within a country. This makes the management of laser safety across a telecommunications company far more difficult to implement in a good and uniform manner. To help with this we carry out site audits and procedure audits to ensure that signage, working methods and procedures are in line with best practice, and are not either too loose or too restrictive.

Following site visits or audit requests, we compile our comments and evidence into a clear (Lucid) report with recommendations for any improvements as may be appropriate. These do sometimes include loosening of so-called ‘laser safety measures’ when these have lead to inappropriate and overly restrictive working measures or over-the-top labeling with so many signs that the worker does not know where to look and just starts to ignore signs.

The appropriate level of laser safety procedure, hazard control measures and signage is also linked to the levels of experience and laser safety knowledge of the relevant staff. This can be thought of in a similar way to a chainsaw being relatively safe in the hands of an experienced and careful professional user, whilst clearly more hazardous when used for the first time by an individual without any training, knowledge or experience of how the device behaves.