APWU Web News Articles

Leather Gloves Needed For Employees Working with Fiber Optic Cables

Web News Article #: 

11/19/2012 - A hazard assessment has revealed that employees who work with fiber optic cables are subject to cuts to their hands and fingers from tiny glass fragments, Maintenance Craft Director Steve Raymer has reported. The assessment was conducted after workers reported injuries when working with the cables.

To abate the hazard, employees who work with fiber optic cables should be issued leather gloves, the national-level Joint Labor-Management Safety Committee concluded. The committee made the decision at a meeting on Nov. 7.

Maintenance Craft employees should request leather gloves when they are assigned to work with the cables if the gloves are not issued by local management.

Local Safety and Health Committees also should conduct local hazard assessments to determine if other hazards exists for which additional personal protective equipment is needed, Raymer said.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires management to assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present or likely to be present that necessitate the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). In accordance with General Industry Standard 1910.132, if such hazards are present or likely to be present, management must:

  1. Select, and have each affected employee use, the types of PPE that will protect the affected employee from the hazards identified in the hazard assessment;
  2. Communicate selection decisions to each affected employee; and,
  3. Select PPE that properly fits each affected employee.

Management Instruction MI EL-810-2009-4 outlines postal policy on the use of Personal Protective Equipment.

Please contact Maintenance Craft Assistant Director Gary Kloepfer if local managers refuse to provide personal protective equipment when they assign employees to tasks involving fiber optic cables.