Sometimes, even the most innocent-seeming things can be dangerous. Take platypi, for example. They are adorable but have poisonous spurs on their hind feet that can inject people with a venom that is incredibly painful if they feel threatened. Telecom and data cables can be just as unexpectedly dangerous – if not even more so. As with any kind of electrical equipment, telecom and data cables do have the potential to be extremely dangerous.
Damaged cables can lead to electric shocks and can be fatal, so it’s important to know what to do in order to avoid any mishaps. Below is a list of some precautions, outlining what should be done to protect yourself from electrical mishaps with telecom cables.
Basic Safety Precautions
A large majority of accidents with telecom and data cables happen because of unsafe practices. As stated earlier, many people, even many professionals, tend to think these cables can’t harm them. One of the first precautions that should be taken is adhering to general safety precautions.
To prepare for work with telecom cables, there should be safety/warning signs posted within the general area. All workers should be trained and qualified to work with or replace the equipment present and should obey all safety/warning signs while working. There should be no unauthorized equipment used while on the job or unauthorized actions taken as this could prove hazardous for you and other workers.
Never work alone and both you and your partner should double-check both your work and the surrounding work area. Finally, always remember to wear the appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
Follow Personal and Electric/Electrical Safety Guidelines
Before the use of any personal gear or electrical equipment, it should first be inspected by designated and certified technicians. Equipment that isn’t double insulated or doesn’t have a case and handle made of non-conducting materials should never under any circumstances pass inspection for use.
When using metal cased portable electric equipment or handheld tools, you should always wear rubber gloves and don’t use any tools that aren’t in excellent condition – you shouldn’t, under any circumstances, use visibly damage tools.
What to Do When Working on Energized Equipment
One thing you may have already noticed is that a big part of this job involves working alongside someone else. In this instance, you should always have a partner when working on energized equipment along with a safety observer and don’t touch any metal surfaces when operating switches. It is also advisable for you to make sure that you have proper insulation if you need to handle powered circuits. Having a partner can help you check any bad habits and they can also help you in locating power supply switches.
How to Make Sure Equipment is De-Energized
To de-energize electrical equipment, you should disconnect the power supply before you begin working on it and be careful that you don’t touch the conductor until you determined that there is no voltage present. To double-check, have a voltmeter or voltage tester on standby and afterward, ensure that the conductors aren’t being powered by another power supply or being protected by another fuse.
Working Area and Electronic Workbench Safety
It’s important that your workspace is safe and is as free as possible of anything that could cause any mishaps or accidents. The floor should be thoroughly insulated; this can be accomplished by using either rubber mats, insulated tiles, dry wood, dry canvas or dry phenolic materials. The flooring should also be non-skid.
The area needs to be kept clean and dust-free and the entire work area should be well-ventilated. Tools should be kept out of the walkway and there needs to be good lighting. As for the Electronic workbench, for safety purposes it would need to be:
● bonded and grounded
● needs a grounding bus so that it can be maintained
● should have a disconnect switch in to prevent electric shocks
One other thing to remember is that when at the workbench, you should always be wearing an ESD (electrostatic discharge) strap before you begin work on any boards or modules.
Proper Safety Clothing and Articles
Last, but surely no less important, is what kind of clothing is appropriate for the job. Of course, if you’ve got a uniform, go with that, but even then, you need to ensure it’s worn in a way that won’t cause any accidents.
First thing’s first, make sure that your uniform (or whatever you choose/are able to wear) isn’t loosely fitting or can get caught on anything, especially rotating equipment. If you’ve got long hair, then tie it back and don’t wear any jewelry (this includes attaching them to your clothing) – watches, rings, watch chains or anything metal as they could contact circuits and cause injury or harm. Any clothing and other articles worn should be as dry as possible.
If followed, these precautions can help keep you safe while working on Telecom data lines – you could possibly even carry some of these instructions over to other electrical jobs. How helpful have any of these regulations been while you were on the job? Ever had a close call? Let us know in the comments!