FOA Basic Skills

Lesson 1: Introduction, Fiber Optic Safety

Objectives: From this lesson you should learn:
What will be involved in learning the skills necessary to install fiber optics
Guidelines for setting up a lab or work area
How to proceed with this self-study program
How to work with fiber safely


This Fiber U course is designed help you learn how to prepare cables for termination or splicing, then terminate, splice and test them. To get the most out of this course, the “hands-on” exercises, you should have some knowledge of fiber optics or have completed  the Fiber U Basic course already, so you know the “jargon” and all about the basics of fiber optics.

Begin by reviewing the lesson plans in the following pages. It will give you an overview of what you will be doing in each section and help you organize your work. You will want to follow the same procedure with each section: 1) watch and/or read the reference material, 2) set up your equipment for the lab and 3) do the hands-on exercises.

Make certain before you begin that you have everything you need - tools, test equipment and components. Refer to the check list on Lesson 2.
It helps to watch the videos completely at least once. You will probably find it convenient to have them ready to play while you are doing the hands-on exercises or you can use the VHO (Virtual Hands-On) links. They will show you step-by-step how to do the exercises using the processes we have gotten from manufacturers and instructors as well as have developed in our own labs. It is very important to follow the steps in order to properly complete the exercises.

Work in a space where you will not be disturbed and avoid distractions. It is important you concentrate on the exercises and follow each step carefully.
Allow plenty of time to complete the exercises without interruption, especially termination. During the termination exercise, you will use adhesives which must be used quickly.

This splicer has his safety glasses on, is working on a black mat to help see the fibers and has a trash bin handy.


Lennie works safely

Please Note: This is not the usual online course - it is intended to guide you as you learn new skills - the skills needed to install optical fiber cable plants. It involves using tools and components in a realistic manner. Some of the processes here can be hazardous, like working with sharp scraps of optical fiber and chemicals. The first lesson is about safety - we recommend reading it carefully and posting the safety rules for everyone to see. Always wear safety glasses when doing any of these exercises and dispose of all scraps properly.

These guidelines are strictly the opinion of the FOA provided for educational purposes and the reader is expected to use them as a basis for learning. The FOA assumes no liability for the use of any of this material.

Familiarize yourself with the safety procedures and follow them all the time. Watch
FOA Lecture 2: Safety When Working With Fiber Optics  

Do not work with fiber without safety glasses and a proper work area that is easy to clean up. It is recommended to not work on carpeted areas because fiber scraps can become imbedded in the carpet and be difficult to find and remove.   

A pair of safety glasses must always be worn. Use them, keep them clean, and protect them from damage like any other tool. You must always wear safety glasses because you will generate fiber scraps that may fly through the air and land anywhere. If scraps get into your eye, you will be making a visit to the local hospital emergency room.

fiber in finger
X-ray of fiber shard in finger

The broken or cleaved ends of fibers are extremely sharp and can easily penetrate your skin! Be careful to not stick the broken ends into your fingers, since they invariably break off and are very hard to find and remove. Most times, you have to wait for them to infect and painfully work themselves out. A pair of tweezers are included in the kit for removing splinters. Carefully pull the glass splinters out before they have a chance to break off and become lodged in the skin.

Avoid these painful accidents by exercising a little caution. Dispose of all scraps properly. Keep a piece of double stick tape on the bench to stick them to or put them in a properly marked paper cup or other container to dispose of later. Do not drop them on the floor where they will stick in carpets or shoes and be carried elsewhere. Do not eat anywhere near the work area.

We recommend working on a black table mat to make it easier to see the fiber (and any scraps). It is best to work on tile or concrete floors, not carpet. If you drop fiber scraps into carpet they can be very hard to find or pick up with a vacuum cleaner.
Clean up after your exercises carefully. Some of the scrap you generate can be harmful, such as fiber ends, so we recommend you not work anywhere near food preparation or children’s play areas! Place clean paper over your work area to keep from harming the worktable surface.
Download a FOA safety poster for your work area.

Watch the videos and/or read the references and take the quiz.

Fiber U Basic Skills Workbook (Download)

YouTube Videos

FOA Lecture 2: Safety When Working With Fiber Optics  

Online FOA Guide:

Fiber Optic Safety  

Book Chapter:
            FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics, Chapter 1, Section on Safety


Test Your Comprehension - Online Quiz On Safety    

Next:  Lesson 2: Fiber Optic Tools, Test Equipment and Supplies           

Return to Lesson Plan

This information is provided by The Fiber Optic Association, Inc. as a benefit to those interested in teaching, designing, manufacturing, selling, installing or using fiber optic communications systems or networks. It is intended to be used as an overview and/or basic guidelines and in no way should be considered to be complete or comprehensive. These guidelines are strictly the opinion of the FOA and the reader is expected to use them as a basis for learning, as a reference and for creating their own documentation, project specifications, etc. Those working with fiber optics in the classroom, laboratory or field should follow all safety rules carefully. The FOA assumes no liability for the use of any of this material.


Table of Contents: The FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics

(C)2012-20, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.