IOM review of the use of colour and of colour vision testing in the rail industryDate: 23 August 2011
The IOM has recently been awarded a contract by RSSB to carry out a qualitative evaluation of colour vision testing tools, followed by a quantitative colour perception assessment. In collaboration with the VIEWS Research Group from the University of Bradford (Vision In the Environment, Work & Sport) the aim of the study, which will run until April 2012, is to identify the colour vision requirements of a number of safety critical tasks within the rail industry; and to evaluate the suitability of available cost-effective colour vision screening and assessment tools that could be used as a secondary test to assess a candidate's ability to undertake accurately these specified tasks.
Current colour-vision requirements within the industry are particularly stringent. However, research has shown that some individuals with a mild to moderate degree of colour deficiency, excluded by current tests, could be able to carry out selected colour-critical tasks with the same degree of safety as individuals with normal colour vision (normal trichomats). Using just one tool to test for deficiencies can lead to a waste of time, resources and money.
This important review of the use of colour and colour vision testing could potentially allow more people to work in parts of the rail industry they have previously been excluded from whilst continuing to safeguard those using rail travel or working in the industry.
This is the latest of a number of collaborative studies the IOM has been pleased to have been involved with on behalf of RSSB including studies on the management of health conditions and diseases; and the preparation of guidance on the application of medical standards.
RSSB builds consensus and facilitates the resolution of difficult cross-industry issues, providing analysis, knowledge, a substantial level of technical expertise and powerful information and risk management tools across a whole range of subject areas. RSSB's work helps the industry to improve continuously the level of safety in the rail industry, drive out unnecessary cost and improve business performance.
VIEWS provides in-depth knowledge of the visual requirements in the environment, workplace and sport. The group provides a variety of consultancy and research services including advice regarding current vision standards and guidance on the development of vision screening procedures.