Fibreoptic Industry Association launches optical power safety guide

11 October 2002 -- Wider use of potentially dangerous optical power sources in the LAN environment has prompted the UK's Fibreoptic Industry Association to publish the Technical Support Document, 2000-5-1, Optical Power Safety Levels.

11 October 2002 -- Wider use of potentially dangerous optical power sources in the LAN environment has prompted the UK's Fibreoptic Industry Association to publish the Technical Support Document, 2000-5-1, Optical Power Safety Levels.

The 850nm, 1300/1310nm and 1550nm wavelengths commonly used to power optical networks are all in the infra-red part of the electromagnetic spectrum; they are invisible to the naked eye, so consequently there is no blink reaction, even to high powered emissions. Exposure to such light sources can cause severe eye damage, including blindness.

The guide describes the classification of sources into Classes 1, the safest, to Class 4; it defines unrestricted, restricted and controlled access areas and details the restrictions applicable to the use of different source Classes in each area, the precautions to be taken and the type of warning labels required.

Responsibilities are quite specific: for example, it is the original installer's duty to designate access areas and correctly to label them; however, if the layout is subsequently modified by the user, the responsibility and liability then pass on to the user. The TSD is an interpretation of the relevant BS Standard, BS EN 60825, and is intended to be read in conjunction with the published BS Specification.

The guide is available by download from the FIA website, www.fibroptic.org.uk, on CD or as hard copy. It is free to FIA members; it costs GBP75 to non-members who can order online or by contacting the Secretariat on +44 1763 273039 or by email to jane@fiasec.demon.co.uk.

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