CNIB safety training reduces workplace eye injuries in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotian employers and employees are reducing workplace eye injuries by participating in interactive training.
More than 4,400 Nova Scotian employers and employees have been trained on how to protect their eyes through workshops offered by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) in the last two years.

"Everyone deserves to come home safely from work," said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan. "These eye-safety workshops have been making a significant difference and the province's participation is just one more way to encourage everyone to start thinking and caring more about workplace safety."

The 90-minute motivational workshop features real-life stories, emotional visuals and interactive exercises. As a result of this training, 92 per cent of participants said they would support wearing eye protection in the workplace.

"The workplace safety strategy calls for more education and training," said Workers' Compensation Board CEO Stuart MacLean. "These workshops will have a real impact on the number of eye injuries around the province. Employers and workers understand the risk and are making changes."

Heritage Gas has had zero eye-injury incidents since it began participating in this training two years ago and started requiring employees to wear protective eyewear at all times.

"These workshops have helped our employees realize just how traumatic an eye injury can be and understand how to prevent them," said Steve Clouthier, director of health, safety, environment and operations with Heritage Gas. "As a result, we have adopted a holistic approach to eye safety in the workplace and we also encourage our people to apply that knowledge in their personal lives."

The CNIB offers workshops throughout Atlantic Canada.

"A few devastating seconds is all it takes to go from 20/20 vision to no vision when a worker isn't wearing protective eyewear," said Clarissa Harris LeBreton, vision health promotion and marketing co-ordinator with CNIB. "Through our ongoing training and education efforts, CNIB is helping to reduce workplace eye injuries one workshop at a time."

The province is stepping up its safety efforts by hiring more safety inspectors, working with industry to ensure officers are getting to more high-risk workplaces, and improving documentation and follow-up of compliance orders.