NIOSH Ensures Worker Eye Safety And Security As Well As Wellness

NIOSH has partnered with the National Institute of Health’s Eye Institute (NEI) to help promote Healthy Vision Month. Every May, the NEI empowers American workers to make their eye health a priority and educates them about steps they can take to protect their vision. As part of the federal government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Eye Institute’s mission is to conduct and support research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to blinding eye diseases, visual disorders and mechanisms of visual function, preservation of sight, and the special health problems and requirements of the blind. Michelle Lee, Public Health Analyst in the NIOSH Office for Total Worker Health, with a focus in Research Translation and Communication, stated in her science blog that while workers have a vested interest in safeguarding their eyes, employers have a legal and ethical responsibility to keep workers safe from hazards, including those that may impact vision.

Every day, about 2,000 US workers receive medical treatment because of eye injuries sustained at work. The most common causes of these injuries include small particles or objects striking the eye, blunt force trauma, chemical burns, and thermal burns. Some workers are at an additional risk of exposure to infectious disease transmissible through the mucous membranes of the eye as a result of exposure to droplets of blood and other body fluids or other forms of contact. Poorly organized, designed or maintained workplaces can also put workers at risk of eye injury. Inadequate lighting that impacts sight and poor or declining vision can also contribute to many types of work-related injuries, including traffic incidents and slips, trips, or falls. Older workers are at a higher risk of developing age-related eye diseases and conditions, including age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, and chronic dryness of the eyes. Vision loss from many common eye diseases is often preventable if detected and treated early.

Safety and efficiency in marine operations will be the focus of a major conference to be held in Aberdeen next month. Measures to enhance safe operations minimise costs and maximise economic control and loss prevention will be examined during the two-day event, organised by the leading global international representative body for maritime professionals, The Nautical Institute. The step change in competencies, efficient operations and appropriate manning required to achieve this will also be discussed. Aberdeen was chosen to host the AGM conference on June 9-10 due to its role as the European operations centre for the oil and gas industry and the significant change occurring within the industry due to the lower for longer oil price environment. Speakers at the event, to be held at Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom, will include Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Oil & Gas UK, and senior marine executives from exploration and production companies, marine consultancies and training providers.

The programme includes examples of offshore ship operation incidents; addressing current levels of shipboard competency; how competency and human element factors can enhance economic and safe operation; Dynamic Positioning (DP) Officer competence; and the relationship between current certificates of competency and the requirements for the safe operation of modern vessels. Conference organiser Robbie Middleton, who sits on The Nautical Institute’s executive board, said there is a point in a recession when you need to take stock, consolidate and plan for the future. The time is therefore right for the oil and gas industry to reappraise culture change, proficiency and cost effective delivery of maritime operations to ensure that this vital element of offshore activity makes a positive contribution to the maximizing economic recovery challenge around the globe. The Nautical Institute has a long-standing relationship with the industry, having developed the benchmark global Dynamic Positioning standards and accreditation programme at its request in the 1980s.