Toolbox Talk: Protecting Your Workers During the Solar Eclipse

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On April 8th, 2024 a solar eclipse will take place. Here's what you can do to ensure your crews stay safe.

On Monday, April 8th, 2024 a total solar eclipse will be seen from all parts of Maine.  The eclipse will begin about 2pm and will last for approximately 2.5 hours, with the total eclipse at approximately 3:20pm for 3 minutes of total darkness. Please take the time and prepare your workers to ensure worker safety during the event.  While the eclipse itself will only last one to five minutes, it still has the potential to cause harm to your eyesight as well as the potential for distraction, especially if your workers are near roadways.

For this reason, I have created a Toolbox Safety Talk to share with your teams that you can give prior to the April 8th event.

Toolbox Safety Talk:  Eclipse Safety Awareness

Good Morning Team,

Today, we need to discuss a unique safety concern that is on the horizon – the solar eclipse occurring on Monday, April 8th. While celestial events like eclipses are fascinating to witness, they also bring potential hazards, especially when working outdoors. It's crucial for us to understand the risks involved and the precautions we need to take to ensure everyone's safety.

Eye Damage: Looking directly at the sun, even during a partial eclipse, can cause severe eye damage or blindness. The ultraviolet and infrared radiation emitted by the sun can harm the retina without you even feeling pain.

Distraction: Eclipses are rare events, and the temptation to watch can distract workers from their tasks, leading to accidents and injuries, especially if heavy machinery or equipment is involved.  If you are on the road, or near roadways during the event, pull over until the eclipse has passed.  Drivers will likely be distracted and can present a danger to you and your crews.

Heavy Traffic:  People will be traveling to the areas where totality can be viewed causing more traffic on the roads than normal.  Please be aware of your surroundings and practice extra safe driving habits.  No distracted driving, wear a seatbelt, and observe all traffic laws.

Total Darkness: During the time of the eclipse, the conditions will be dark, just as it is at night.  Job sites that do not have adequate lighting must pause production until light returns.  All workers must wear hi-visibility clothing.

Precautions to Ensure Safety:

  1. Protective Eyewear: Ensure that everyone has proper eye protection certified for solar viewing. Sunglasses are not sufficient for safe viewing during an eclipse. Eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers meeting the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard are essential to prevent eye damage.  Welding lenses must be at least a Shade 14 to provide adequate protection.
  2. Schedule Adjustments: Plan work schedules around the eclipse if possible. Consider rescheduling outdoor tasks for before or after the event to minimize exposure.
  3. Stay Focused: Remind workers to stay focused on their tasks and avoid getting distracted by the eclipse. Designate specific times for viewing if feasible, ensuring that it does not interfere with job responsibilities.
  4. Communication: Educate all team members about the dangers associated with the eclipse and the precautions they need to take. Encourage open communication about any concerns or questions regarding safety during the event.

While witnessing a solar eclipse can be a memorable experience, our top priority remains the safety and well-being of everyone on the job site. By understanding the risks involved and implementing necessary precautions, we can ensure that everyone remains safe while enjoying this natural phenomenon.

Let's work together to make Monday's eclipse a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

Thank you for your attention, and stay safe out there!


Follow Priscilla Hansen Mahoney:

Business Coach for Contractors

Business Coach for Contractors and Founder of Blazing Trails Coaching I help my clients “get out of their pickup trucks and on top of their businesses.” I specialize in working with skilled-trades business owners to help them streamline processes, train leaders, engage employees, and make their businesses efficient and profitable.