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Workplace safety and the upcoming solar eclipse

Prepare your workers and worksites to safely operate during this rare event

On April 8, 2024, North America will experience a total solar eclipse; the Moon will pass between the Sun and the Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun from our view. This will cause the sky to darken as if it were dawn or dusk. The event will occur between 2 and 4 p.m., depending on your location.

Although eclipses occur about every 18 months somewhere in the world, this is a relatively rare event for Ontario – the most recent occurring in Northern Ontario in 1979 – and as such, there is a lot of interest. However, looking directly at the Sun can cause temporary or permanent damage to the eyes without the use of specialized eyewear.

As this event takes place during the traditional workday, safety needs to be top of mind. Employers have a duty to inform workers who work outside about the risks.

Our prevention system partners, Infrastructure Health & Safety Association, offer the following tips:

  • Deliver a safety talk to inform workers of the health risks that come with looking at the sun, including during an eclipse.
  • Complete a hazard analysis that accounts for the change in conditions and tasks being completed during the eclipse. Review the analysis with workers.
  • A total eclipse creates temporary darkness. Ensure the jobsite is adequately lit and that workers wear high-visibility clothing.
  • Inform workers of safe ways to view the eclipse, emphasizing the importance of using approved eye protection, not makeshift filters.
  • Set up a designated eclipse-viewing area—with proper equipment such as ISO-approved solar viewers or pinhole cameras—where interested workers can observe the event safely.
  • Let workers know to seek immediate medical help if they experience health issues during the eclipse.

Additional information on the eclipse:

Published: March 25, 2024

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