Many parts of Ontario will experience a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.[1]

Looking directly at the sun during an eclipse can cause serious eye injury, and the eclipse will occur in the afternoon, during many people’s working hours. Set out below are some ideas to help you plan for this upcoming event.

  1. Review information provided by our provincial and local governments regarding employee safety during a solar eclipse and ensure that you, and those at your organization responsible for employee health and safety, understand the safety risks associated with an eclipse.
  2. Clearly notify your staff of the eclipse. Explain to your employees the serious risks associated with looking at the sun during an eclipse. The provincial government has indicated that “employers with workers who may be exposed to the sun during the eclipse should instruct workers not to look at the sun during the eclipse.”[2]
  3. Maintain awareness of employees’ plans and potential risks. If employees might look at the sun during the relevant time period, consider your legal obligations to your employees. Review the detailed information on proper eye protection available on the City of Toronto’s website. As with all safety equipment, it’s important for eye protection to be sourced from a trustworthy supplier.
  4. Consider one or more of the following, as appropriate for your organization:
  • Develop and distribute a list of safety measures to be taken
  • Hold a meeting dedicated specifically to reminding employees of the risks associated with the eclipse and the precautions they should take
  • Move activities indoors if that might help reduce the risk for your workers
  • Shift the timing of activities that might entail a heightened risk (e.g., driving)
  • Remind employees of reduced visibility during the eclipse.
  • Prepare for potential employee absences in light of some school boards having announced closures on April 8.

Remember: people should seek immediate medical attention if they looked at the sun during the eclipse without proper eye protection.

This article is general in nature and must not be interpreted as providing legal, medical, or safety advice or guidance.

© Human Resources Professionals Association 2024

[1] Solar Eclipse 2024 – Region of Durham