18 Jul Grounding: The Key to Damage Prevention and Safety in the Outside Plant
When it comes to safety and damage prevention in the outside plant, it all comes back to grounding. Regardless of whether we’re talking damage prevention of your plant or the safety of your personnel, grounding plays an essential role in both. So how does grounding impact safety and why is proper grounding important?
How Does Grounding Prevent Damage?
We hear time and time again “ground your cable everywhere!” and for good reason! What are some of the ways proper grounding prevents damage in the outside plant?
It Protects Your Cable from Transient SurgesTransient surges, such as lightning strikes, are very hazardous to the health of your cable. When these transients strike, they search for the closest path to ground. Unfortunately for your cable, this closest path to ground is often the metallic armour protecting your cable. Without proper grounding to dissipate the surge, the result can be very damaging to your cable… fried fiber, anyone?
It Facilitates Accurate Cable LocatesTo ensure your cable locates are accurate, you need a strong, reliable locating signal on your cable. The strength and quality of your locating signal is directly impacted by the strength of your grounding practices, and the health of your cable. If you have poor grounding practices or resistive faults to ground throughout your outside plant, the strength of your locating signal (and ultimately, the accuracy of your cable locates) will suffer.
How Does Grounding Affect Safety of Personnel?
Even more important than protecting the equipment in your outside plant is protecting the people working on it. How does good grounding keep personnel safe?
It Avoids ElectrocutionBy a show of hands: who likes getting electrocuted? I’m going to assume by the lack of response that everyone does not. That, or those who do have been fried crispier than the chicken served up at your local fried chicken joint and are therefore incapable of response. In any case, it’s pretty safe to assume that electrocuting people is bad, and that it’s good practice to avoid it. Shocking, right? (pun definitely intended)
Well, if you care at all about not electrocuting people, you should also care about grounding in your outside plant. They kind of go hand in hand. If your outside plant is not properly grounded and personnel comes in contact with that outside plant, guess who becomes your new and improved grounding point? You guessed it: the personnel, and while we humans are better than a metal rod in nearly every category, the rod has us beat when it comes to its ability to conduct electricity and live to tell the tale…
So while it might be a pain, yes, we need to “ground our cable everywhere!” The safety of our people and the damage prevention of our equipment demands it.