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Colour vision requirements of firefighters

Margrain, Thomas Hengist ORCID:, Birch, J. and Owen, C. G. 1996. Colour vision requirements of firefighters. Occupational Medicine 46 (2) , pp. 114-124. 10.1093/occmed/46.2.114

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To perform their job safely firefighters must be able to identify colours on industrial gas cylinders, portable fire extinguishers, road traffic signals and several pieces of firefighting equipment. Although good colour vision is necessary we believe that the existing colour vision standard, which bars entry to the fire service to applicants who fail more than two plates of the Ishihara test, is unnecessarily stringent. We have identified and quantified the colour coded information encountered by firefighters. Colours were plotted on the CIE chromaticity diagram (1931) and isochromatic zones, which document the colour confusions of colour deficient observers, superimposed. This novel technique established possible colour confusions in different types of colour deficiency. Analysis of the results showed that red/green dichromats (protanopes and deuteranopes), severe deuteranomalous trichromats who fail the Farnsworth D15 test, and protanomalous trichromats are unsuitable for firefighting work. However, people with slight deuteranomalous trichromatism who pass the D15 test, are not disadvantaged and can be employed safely as firefighters. A new colour vision standard and a new testing procedure is recommended.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Optometry and Vision Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0962-7480
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 10:39

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