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Laser Based Fiber Optic Safety

Observe the following guidelines when using laser-based fiber optic products.

When fiber optic systems are used to transmit signalsover long distances, laser-based fiber optic products areoften the most viable solution. Laser-based optical outputfrom fiber optic products can damage eyesight undercertain conditions. Observe the following guidelines whenusing laser-based fiber optic products:

  1. ALWAYSread the product data sheet and laser safetylabel before powering the product. Note the operatingwavelength, optical output power, and safetyclassification.

  2. If safety goggles or other eye protection are used, becertain that the protection is effective at thewavelength(s) emitted by the device under testBEFOREapplying power.

  3. ALWAYSconnect a fiber to the output of the deviceBEFOREpower is applied. Power should never beapplied without an attached fiber output. If the devicehas a connector output, a connector should beattached that’s connected to a fiber. This ensures thatall of the light is confined within the fiber waveguide,virtually eliminating all potential hazards.

  4. NEVERlook in the end of a fiber to see if light iscoming out. Most fiber-optic laser wavelengths(1,310 nm and 1,550 nm) are invisible to the unaidedeye, but will cause permanent damage. Shorterwavelength lasers (e.g. 780 nm) are visible and arevery damaging. Always use instruments, such as anoptical power meter, to verify light output.

  5. NEVERlook into the end of a fiber on a powered devicewith ANY sort of magnifying device. This includesmicroscopes, eye loupes, and magnifying glasses. ThisWILL cause a permanent, irreversible burn on theretina. Always double check that power isdisconnected before using such devices. If possible,completely disconnect the unit from any powersource.


Source: Force Inc.

 


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