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Monday October 23, 2017

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Worker Health & Safety During a Total Solar Eclipse

Because it is an exciting and stunning natural phenomenon, it’s an understandable reaction to want to witness the splendor of a total eclipse. However, any employee that looks directly at the eclipse with their naked eye risks eye damage and blindness. Take reasonable precautions to protect employees by circulating a written memo that outlines the following:

The exact time the eclipse starts and finishes in your exact location. Your company officially advises all workers to avoid looking at the sun during this time.Your company does not advise viewing the eclipse with the naked eye. For outdoor workers, recommend that if possible, they be indoors during the eclipse. If being indoors is impossible, workers must avoid looking at the sun. For the duration of totality, there will be darkness, and work can be ceased during this time (two-minute duration) and until adequate light from the sun is restored.

Workers who read and understand the memo and still choose to view the eclipse do so on their own accord. As an employer, circulating a memo demonstrates due diligence on your behalf, and reasonable precaution for worker safety during this natural celestial event. It’s an astronomical spectacle that won't be repeated for another decade, so plenty of Britons will want to capture a personal memento of the occasion.

Do not attempt to view the eclipse through your camera or a telescope unless you are using an eclipse filter on the lens – it will damage your eyes and your camera!

Beware that during totality, it will be completely dark allowing you to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of seeing stars during daylight hours – but do be aware of trip hazards, pedestrians, cars, etc.

Eclipse glasses and sunglasses might look somewhat similar, but they are made of very different materials. You should never look directly at the sun while wearing sunglasses, no matter how tinted your lenses may be.

Normal sunglasses typically let in between 10 and 20 percent of daylight…but that's still way too bright," Fienberg told Space.com. "The filters that are made for looking at the sun are typically 100,000 times darker.

Sunglasses are typically made of glass, plastic or some kind of polycarbonate material, while solar filters are made of one of two materials: polyester film coated in aluminum, or something called "black polymer," Fienberg explained. Most eclipse glasses and solar viewers use the black polymer, which is a flexible resin infused with carbon particles. Both types of filters will reduce visible light down to safe levels.

A total solar eclipse is truly spectacular and awesome in the true meaning of the word 'awesome,' whereas a partial solar eclipse could pass unnoticed," Fienberg said.

Even if you do have a solar filter and watch the sun turn into a thin crescent, it's nowhere near as exciting as a total eclipse, because you miss all the really spectacular phenomena that are associated with totality. It doesn't get dark, you don't see the corona, you don't see bright red prominences of gas jetting off from the edge of the sun. It's just not the same at all. So get to the path of totality if you can. And whatever you do, don't forget to bring the right kind of eye protection.

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