Starting a job safely and finishing a job in the same matter are important to ensure our teams and community go home.
All phases of planning, building and maintenance of your fiber network come with its own set of safety challenges. However, during the design phase of your network construction project can and should integrate safety. As we discussed over the last few weeks, six essential topics should be discussed during the planning phase of your telecommunication project:
- 1. Establishing a Safety Culture
- 2. All Field Work is Dangerous
- 3. Communicating Effectively
- 4. Identifying Existing Utilities
- 5. Finding the Right Materials and Location
- 6. Closing out a Project
This week we will discuss our last two topics right materials/locations and project closeout.
Learn more about our other topics: Part One and Part Two.
1. Finding the Right Materials and Locations
What does specifying the right materials have to do with safety? Quite a bit, actually. When designing the project, consider those materials that are tried and true, have an established and reputable name, provide a sufficient warranty and won’t leave you scrambling in the middle of the night during an emergency restoration effort down the line.
We all can be tempted with the latest products and technologies, but they can leave you in a bind versus proven technologies. If it is difficult to find replacement parts easily without encountering long lead times, or if the products being used have unproven durability in real world performance, this can be a risk.
Reaching out to surrounding communities with established networks, ask them what has worked and what hasn’t can help you avoid similar mistakes. It can be a great advantage in matching materials with neighboring network partners to help each other out when searching for replacement parts if needed during network maintenance or restoration.
Also consider how the infrastructure you’re proposing will be installed and where equipment would be set up to when it comes to installation. Heavy duty vaults may be proposed, but often require boom trucks or heavy equipment in order to install. Taking time during the design phase to plan vault locations that can be installed safely can sometimes be overlooked. Planning vaults under overpasses and overhead obstructions can be dangerous due to limited work height clearances for heavy equipment and can put your workers in harm’s way by working in the blind spots and dark shadows of the overpass. This can significantly reduce the visibility of installers, splicers and anyone working in the vault in the future from the oncoming traffic.
Also considering how, when and where you propose the cable to be spliced can be critical to the safety of your crews. Make sure planned splice locations have adequate space for splice crews and equipment to work. Providing additional slack in challenging locations can possibly allow more flexibility as to where your splicers can set up and can provide a relatively inexpensive solution in moving your workers a few feet into a safer work location.
2. Project Closeout
So much work and effort go into planning and installing broadband networks, the excitement of it getting installed often overshadows the priority of getting it documented properly. Field adjustments happen daily, make it a top priority to collect accurate redlines including running line adjustments, vault and splice locations, fiber sequential numbers, bore logs, vault laydown and splice test results.
The importance of accurate documentation should not be undervalued. Accurate records can help find slack during emergency restoration efforts, and bolster confidence of accuracy when plotting existing facilities on road and utility improvement projects. Verify that contractors are properly closing out all right of way permits. This will make sure all right of way authorities are satisfied with the completed work and restoration efforts and officially document completion dates for work in the right of way.
No two projects are alike but taking time to review your project and identify as many project specific safety considerations as possible can go a long way. Implementing safety procedures in the earliest phases of your project is not only a good idea, but it can pay off in dividends keeping your team, your budget and your community a bit safer on all phases of your next fiber deployment project.
Check out the first two part in our Safety for Network Construction series:
- Network Construction Projects and Designing for Safety: Part Two
- Designing Safety into your Network Construction Project: Part One
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