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As it's dangerous to accidently look in a fiber optics, what does one normally use as a protection to this while working with fiber optics? Are there safety glasses for such things? How is that problem handled in practice? Thanks :-)

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"Do not stare into laser with remaining eye." –  EEAA Aug 15 '12 at 12:53
    
@ErikA How could I forget to add that line to my reply ???? –  Tonny Aug 15 '12 at 15:22
    
@Tonny - I was wondering that myself! :) –  EEAA Aug 15 '12 at 18:38
    
There are glasses specifically designed for use when working with lasers, most often used in optical labs, but you'll need to do some searching to find them. I'm not at all sure of just how effective they might be. –  John Gardeniers Aug 16 '12 at 7:21
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2 Answers

Disclaimer: I'm not a safety inspector, but I have been handling fiber-optics almost daily, without mishap, for nearly 20 years.

The danger is there, but shouldn't be over-hyped. A laser-pointer is much more dangerous.
As long as you don't look straight into an active transceiver (or a cable-ending that has an active transceiver on the other end) nothing can happen.

In my opinion: All the warnings in the manuals and on the packaging are more intended to make sure the manufacturer can't be sued into oblivion by some lawyer in litigation-happy USA.

General advice:
Keep the protective covers on unused transceivers and fiber-patches. Only remove them when plugin something in. (They also act as dust-cover which is just as important!)
When patching fiber or inserting optics in a device just make sure you keep the optic NOT at eye-level. That way you will never be looking straight at the laser-beam.
If you are handling a patch-cable that is already connected on the other end: Just make sure you keep the "open" end pointed to the floor or to the equipment-rack, away from your body (or anybody else in the vicinity).

As for safety glasses. I have never heard of them. I don't think they would work either. You would need something equivalent to a welders-mask, meaning you can't see anything at all when wearing such glasses.

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Also worth noting - the labeled hazard is generally for optics actually using lasers. This is, in most cases, for single mode - which, in addition to being quite a bit more powerful, also is at a wavelength not visible to the human eye. The problem here is, in part, that there isn't really even an immediate pain impulse to tell you there's a problem. Multimode, in contrast, is much lower power and is transmitted via an LED on a wavelength visible to the eye. It's still not a great idea to look into such an optic, of course, but it's not dangerous enough to warrant the warnings of various SM-based media.

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