Harness Racing Australia
Gear and Equipment


Eye - Guidelines for Eye Protection and Related Standards

 
Council’s Objectives

At the request of the Australian Harness Racing Council initiated by Tony McGrath, President, following observations of driver protective eyewear in Europe during the recent World Trotting Conference, Council’s Executive requested that Tom Gibson of Human Impact Engineering (Biomechanical Engineering Consultants) review this area. 

Council believes that eye protection for our industry’s drivers is an important area aligned to the number of industry safety initiatives by Council and State Controlling Bodies. Tom Gibson has provided Council with the following information to act as Guidelines in this area.  Council will not make the wearing of protective eyewear compulsory but rather prefers to educate drivers and trainers in their availability and use given that appropriate Australian Standards are in place.

What should eye protectors be capable of in harness racing?

Eye protectors in harness racing should be worn to protect the eyes of the drivers from mud and grit thrown up during both racing and track work.  The eye protector must accomplish this without compromising the wearer’s field of view and while controlling glare both in sunlight and under artificial lights.  It also must not cause injury itself, in the event of being impacted by gravel or other object thrown up from the track or as a result of direct impact during a fall.

Incidence of eye injuries to drivers?

To date there have been no eye injuries in any of the injury data collected by HRA and the State Controlling Bodies however this is not conclusive.

What applicable Australian Standards exist?

Three Australian Standards are applicable to eye protectors with the desired attributes. They are:

  • AS 1067 – 2003 Sunglasses and Fashion Spectacles (currently under review by Standards Australia).
  • AS 1337 – 1992 Eye Protectors for Industry Applications; and
  • AS 1609 – 1981 Eye Protectors for Motor Cyclists and Racing Car Drivers.

All three Standards place requirements on the optical quality, spectral transmittance and mechanical strength. Obviously these vary slightly according to the purpose of the eye protectors, but all include an impact test, by means of an impact with a steel ball, to ensure that the lenses used in the eye protector will not shatter.  No test is specified to ensure that the eye protector itself does not cause injury when driven into the facial region by direct impact as a result of a fall.

The AS 1067 – 2003 Sunglasses and Fashion Spectacles is the minimum reasonable standard to ensure that the eye protection is to a reasonable optical standard and has shatter proof lenses.

What is being worn?

A quick look has indicated that at present drivers are wearing a combination of sunglasses, spectacles and various goggles.  It would also be possible to wear a visor designed for use on a motorcycle if wearing that type of helmet and it is HRA approved for use. Commonly the goggles, which are sold for the purpose should be considered by the purchaser and be in accordance with the above standard from Standards Australia.

Recommendations

1.  Eye protection of some type should be worn during both track work and racing.

2.  The protection being currently worn appears to be effective, as no injuries seem to be evident or have been reported under the Serious Accident Notification Form System submitted by the Stewards through State Controlling Bodies to HRA.

3.  If an Australian Standard must be set then an appropriate minimum standard is AS 1067 – 2003 Sunglasses and Fashion Spectacles.

Trainers and drivers should be encouraged to wear Protective Eyewear rated at least to the appropriate minimum Standard of AS 1067 – 2003 Sunglasses and Fashion Spectacles or better as indicated earlier in these Guidelines.

 

Please Note:  On 1st March 2008 Harness Racing Australia Inc (HRA) replaced Australian Harness Racing Council Inc (AHRC) as the organisation's name.  All AHRC's formal structures, rules, regulations, policies, processes etc., now pertain to HRA, and any reference to Australian Harness Racing Council Inc, AHRC, Council or The Council shall mean Harness Racing Australia Inc or HRA.
 

Updated 20th March 2007

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