College of the North Atlantic recognized for efforts in reducing eye injuries among young workers in Newfoundland and Labrador during World Sight Day


(ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Oct. 8, 2015) Young workers are now among the highest risk groups for work-related eye injuries in Newfoundland and Labrador. With funding from Workplace NL & Husky Energy and a partnership with College of the North Atlantic, CNIB is looking to change that.

Since October of 2014, Over seventeen-hundred students in engineering technology, health sciences, industrial trades, natural resources and information technology have received training aimed at instilling a culture of safety at 16 of the colleges campuses across Newfoundland and Labrador

“As a part of World Sight Day, CNIB presented its Outstanding Community Partner Award to College of the North Atlantic for, among other things, their efforts to reduce eye injuries among the region's future workforce,” said Debbie Ryan, CNIB's Vision Health Promotion Specialist in Newfoundland and Labrador. “Research shows that while the overall number of eye injuries has declined in recent years, workplace eye injuries among young workers continue to rise.”

The award, which is presented at CNIB's annual community meeting in St. John's, recognizes individuals and organizations who have contributed to the health, well-being of people who are blind or partially sighted and whose core values include health and safety as a priority. CNIB client and third-year business student Tyler Butler, who attends the college's Prince Phillip Drive campus, presented the award to CNA's President and CEO, Ann Marie Vaughan.

“Eye injuries in the workplace are surprisingly common and often result in lost time and, in some cases, either temporary or permanent vision loss,” said President Vaughan. “Considering the majority of eye injuries are preventable, the college recognizes the importance of eye safety training for our students as they prepare to enter their careers. As employers and educators we have a responsibility to ensure that everyone takes the proper steps towards promoting and practicing eye safety.”

CNIB’s Eye Safety Program educates employers and frontline employees about the importance of practicing eye safety at work, at home and at play.

Quick Facts:

  • Nearly 300 work-related eye injuries occur each year in Newfoundland and Labrador, often resulting in lost time and, in some cases, either temporary or permanent vision loss.
  • 16 per cent of eye injuries within the workplace are reported by workers between the ages of 15 and 24.
  • Approximately half of the accidents involving 15 to 24 year olds happen during the first six months of employment.
  • 60 per cent of eye injuries that have occurred in the workplace have been as a direct result of the worker not wearing eye protection at the time of the incident (source: Doctors of Optometry Canada).
  • Seventy-five per cent of all eye conditions causing blindness can be prevented with proper education and precautionary steps (source: CNIB).
  • The most common causes of eye injuries include, foreign matter entering the eye, trauma, chemical exposure, exposure to radiation and not wearing the right kind of personal protective equipment for the task being performed.

Media Contacts:

Debbie Ryan
Vision Health Promotion & Communications
CNIB Newfoundland and Labrador
(709) 754-1180 x 5811
(709) 685-7263 

Roger Hulan
Communications Specialist
College of the North Atlantic
(709) 643-7938

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