Staying Grounded = Staying Safe

When it comes to safety and damage prevention in the outside plant, it all comes back to grounding.

We hear it time and time again, “You have to ground your cable everywhere!” It’s a pain. It’s a chore. But it’s essential to damage prevention in your outside plant and the safety of your personnel. So how does grounding impact safety and why is proper grounding important?

How Grounding Prevents Damage
Lightning strikes and other transient surges can cause serious damage to your cable. When
lightning strikes, it searches for the closest path to ground and that often ends up being the
metallic armor protecting your cable. Without proper grounding to dissipate the surge, the result can be very damaging to your cable. Fried fiber, anyone?

Accurate cable locating requires a strong, reliable locating signal on your cable. A strong, reliable locating signal requires sound grounding practices and little-to-no resistive faults to ground throughout your outside plant. Without it, the strength of your locating signal (and ultimately, the accuracy of your cable locates) will suffer.


How Grounding Keeps Personnel Safe
Who likes getting electrocuted? Anyone? Unless I hear otherwise, I think 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.)

If you care at all about not electrocuting people, you must also care about proper grounding in
your outside plant. They go hand-in-hand. If your outside plant is not properly grounded and personnel come in contact with that outside plant, guess who becomes your new and improved grounding point? You guessed it – your personnel! And while we humans are better than a metal rod in nearly every category, the rod certainly has us beat when it comes to its ability to conduct electricity and live to tell the tale.

So even though it might be a pain to “ground our cable everywhere,” it simply has to be done. The safety of our people and the damage prevention of our equipment demands it.

Colin Ward is Marketing Specialist with Norscan Instruments Ltd. He can be reached at colin.ward@

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