It’s not often we look to the corporate world when we discuss the matters of eyesight and eye health. But it’s actually quite astounding that we don’t as a society; in the workplace environment, we investigate and analyse and fuss and nit-pick over every health and safety detail, we time manage every single minute of every single hour, and we monitor the general health and well being of workers in many other ways. So what’s so different about eyesight? Education in eye health and the importance of looking after our eyes has become much more apparent in recent years and now it could be time for business owners to consider this avenue as a way to increase productivity, boost staff retention and reduce costs as a part of a long term business strategy.
Research on Driver Eyesight
It’s no secret that better eye health for employees can dramatically reduce eyesight related problems; in particular road collisions and road accidents. Research has been conducted by a well known corporate eyecare company to show that driver eyesight testing would help to reduce accidents for companies who require their staff to drive as a part of their role. Not only is it better for health and safety practice but it can help companies save money in the long run.
The survey in question, which was conducted with over 100 UK companies (representing a group total of around 300,000 workers), revealed that 59% of employers were in favour of providing regular eyesight tests for their staff to help reduce collisions on the road. In support of this research, road safety charity Brake confirms, “Poor vision increases risk of crashing”. They also advertise clearly on the charity’s website that, “Road deaths are preventable and must be stopped.”
It’s clear from this recent research that employers have a responsibility just as much as the employees; and although it’s not currently required by law to offer free eyesight tests to staff members who are expected to drive a vehicle during work hours, it definitely shows that there are benefits in doing so. But caring about employee eye health and eyesight shouldn’t stop with drivers; it should also be something that businesses consider for office staff or anyone who has to work with equipment, computers, machinery.
Display Screen Equipment Regulations
When it comes to working with computers and and VDU (Visual Display Screen) equipment, the responsibility is with both the employee and the employer. The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 2002 aims to protect anyone who works with display screen equipment and whilst the current regulatory guidelines could entitle you to getting your eye exams paid for by your employer, it’s not their responsibility to offer it by law. So if you work in an office with computer equipment and are required to look at the screen for continual spells of an hour or more, it could be in your interest to check out the latest Health and Safety Regulations.
Other than eyesight alone, other things that companies should bear in mind are lighting conditions as well as desk and chair health and safety matters. A safe and comfortable working environment can often be overlooked for office/desk work but it’s extremely important, especially when eyesight and eye health is concerned. Eyesight can directly impact on productivity so companies should look at considering a more open approach to offering eyesight tests.
Eyecare Benefits for Employees
Eye examinations are a relatively low cost output so rolling out regular eyecare for employees wouldn’t be as big business might expect. And when it’s weighed up against uninsured losses such as sick pay, increased premiums for vehicle insurance or lost time in the office, it could be a very wise decision financially. With more and more focus on the importance of eye health and the recent revelations of computer screens and digital technology damaging visual health in the UK, there’s more reason than ever for businesses and their Human Resource Managers or Health & Safety Officers to look into free eyecare as a possibility.