|fotec Application Note:
Fiber Optic Safety
The safety issues for fiber optics are not what everyone thinks of first: getting your eyeball burned out by laser light in a fiber. Most fiber optic systems have power levels too low to do any damage. In addition, the light is coming out of the fiber in an expanding cone, meaning the further away the end of the fiber is, the less the danger. Most systems also operate with light over 1000 nm wavelength, where the liquid in your eye absorbs the light heavily, preventing retinal damage.
That said, it's stupid to look into a fiber when you don't know what is being transmitted through it! First of all, most of the light is invisible to the human eye, so you can't see anything anyway. Secondly, if it is high enough power to be a problem, the damage is likely irreversible!
So don't look into fibers! Use a power meter to see if power is present, especially if looking at the end of a connector with a microscope.
The two major safety issues are proper disposal of the glass shards created by cleaving the fiber or accidentally breaking it and the cleaning chemicals and adhesives used.
ALWAYS DISPOSE OF FIBER SCRAPS CAREFULLY! We recommend a disposable paper cup (those used for take-out soup work best) to keep all scraps in. Be careful about getting scraps on the floor or your clothes.
Be careful in dealing with the chemicals. Some are flammable, some are hazards to breathe or may cause allergic reactions. Always work in well-ventilated areas.
Follow these simple rules and you should work safely!
Fiber Optic Safety Rules