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helped to keep our safety record good. We do require eye examinations for every potential employee. He doesn't begin his job without corrective eyewear. Wherever possible we adapt a man's visual capacity to his job. Where it isn't possible, he isn't hired. When you consider the tragic accident or increasing infirmity which can result from overtaxed vision, this isn't as heartless as it sounds. On a less personal basis, a company's reputation is in jeopardy, its economy affected.

Eventually insurance premiums have to get higher. And what company can afford even one inefficient worker?

To keep our efficiency as high as possible, we know the value of regular eye examinations for every person. We have had our lighting facilities checked and improved by experts. We supply safety goggles and request that they be worn. But this isn't enough. It takes constant hammering and vigilance to keep men careful.

Individually, I wonder how many of us are consistently impressed by the importance of eye safety and, more simple, by just good visual health. I guess it's all too lamentably human that we have to be jolted by the preventable accident, by the loss or near loss of sight before we are able to do more than take for granted our precious gift, our power to see.

It seems to me that we who in any way contribute to the optical industry would be natural crusaders for healthy vision. As with all improvements, we'd do well to begin with ourselves, in our homes; then examine again and again our offices and shops. Let's make sure and keep making sure that the best possible safeguards are installed and always in use.

Who of us wishes to see even our enemies unhappily involved in an eye accident which could have been avoided? Why, if we can help it, suffer from that hurt to our sight which is "woorst of al," seeing our friends unlucky, unlucky with their only pair of eyes.


(By Peter E. Schruth, vice president, advertising director, the Saturday Evening


The Saturday Evening Post's most precious asset is one it does not own or control. But the care and well-being of that asset are never long out of our thoughts; for without its good health, my company and its products would cease to exist. That asset is the eyesight of the American people. It is our chief concern, and we salute the optometrists of America for their invaluable skill in preserving and protecting it.

The history of modern civilization is the history of the demands made on human vision. Consider the fact that a brief 200 years ago the number of people who could read was infinitesimal. In 1760 those who earned their livelihood working under artificial light, in offices and factories, were so few as to be almost nonexistent. Practically everybody worked outdoors as farmers, fishermen, or in the building trades. True, women in their spinning and sewing did fine precision work; and so did a few artisans like silversmiths. But most of the work we engaged in and the games we played made few demands on that delicate, but sturdy organ, the eye.

But with the 19th century, the world moved indoors. The industrial complex was born, with its offices and factories. Men huddled over the lathe, and both men and women over the desk. Literacy rose, and mass communications developed with newspapers and magazines. National advertising made possible mass distribution and mass production. These in turn brought to America the highest standard of living in the world, and more leisure time. But in their leisure, people made not fewer, but greater demands on their eyesight; for they had discovered the joys of reading, one of the most sublime discoveries in the history of mankind.

My company has had the privilege of playing a leading role in this discovery. For over 75 years now, the Curtis Publishing Co.'s magazines have been enjoyed by untold millions of people, week after week and month after month. Through our pages, they have explored every corner of the globe and much of space; they have studied every significant political and economic development of their day; they have received instruction in everything from the art of cutting out a paper doll to that of baking a cake and making a dazzling evening gown. They have read the master fiction writers of the century, and have doubled up over countless rib-tickling cartoons. And they have smiled over the warm, human traits which the great artists have portrayed on the covers and in story illustrations.

Most of the time, of course, they read our magazines under the ideal conditions of modern lighting, provided by the research and manufacturing techniques of our great electric companies, which have done so much toward preserving eyesight. But, frankly, we sometimes worry about where they read them, as do, I know, their optometrists.

They have read them by the glaring spot of the kerosene lamps of the 1880's and by the feeble light bulbs at the turn of the century. They have read them by flickering candlelight in a World War I dugout, and by a parachute light over a Pacific Island battlefield in World War II.

Today, they read them in the midday sun of a white Florida beach, and in the dusk of a city park. They read them lying, sitting, and standing. They read them in bouncing cars and on swaying commuter trains. Young and old, teenagers and nonagenarians alike, they read them in every possible position and under every conceivable condition of light and motion.

And all this time, they are tampering with my company's most valuable asset. Is it any wonder we worry?

Of course, there's not much we can do about it-how, where and under what conditions they read them. But we can, and have, done a great deal about the legibility of what they do read.

Our company is the largest integrated publishing operation in the world. We produce magazines all the way from the tree which supplies the woodpulp for paper to the finished product in the hands of the reader. We control the manufacture of the paper, the typefaces used in printing, the layout of the pages, the ink used, and the printing itself. In every step of the process we have continuous research programs underway to produce an easier-to-read magazine. For readability is a sine qua non of our business. If our magazines are not legible, they will not be read; and the easier they are to read, the more they will be read.

Because our aim is readability, we have progressed from the fancy typefaces of the Gay Nineties era to the cleaner, sharper, more legible faces of today. The same is true of layout. Where before we had pages cluttered with roccoco scrollwork, today the aim is simplicity. In paper we have made great strides in providing better surfaces, so that the type will produce a sharper impression instead of one that's diffused and blurred. Improved inks also contribute to better printing, as do the modern printing techniques in which we have pioneered.

The result is a more attractive magazine because of its legibility and simplicity, and cleaner, uncluttered pages. It makes our business prosper; and it is good, I know, for the eyesight of the American people.

No firm in the country shares with the optometric profession a greater interest in good vision than does ours, for without it we are lost ; but with it we prosper. It is our most valuable asset, and one that we will do everything within our power to preserve. We are definitely with the optometrists of America in that aim.


(By Rebel L. Robertson, Public Relations Director, National Council, Boy Scouts

of America) The Boy Scouts of America promotes through organization and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others; to train them in scoutcraft; and teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods which are commonly associated with scouting.

These methods, the outdoor and indoor experiences which help a boy develop himself, require good vision, not only physically for the sake of partaking in lively activities, but also mentally in order that he might collect visually the knowledge necessary to the constant improvement of his mind.

Tracking, trailing, astronomy, craftwork, lifesaving, first aid, and other tasks which Scouts must perform to qualify for ranks in scouting are demanders of high quality, expertly cared for vision. Events which have been associated in the main with scouting, such as signaling, beeline hikes, identification of wild animals and birds, and others also immediately bring to mind the importance of good vision.

At the same time, a lad of Scout age should be thinking about his ever-increasing span of influence. He should see that as he grows, he must also grow in his vision of what his community, State, and country mean. He must be able to see and understand what it takes and why it is necessary to be a worthwhile citizen.

The visual welfare of the youth of this Nation is of vital interest to the Boy Scouts of America. Throughout our literature and teachings, we strive to keep our members aware of the importance of this great cause.

INDUSTRY NEEDS A GOOD VISION PROGRAM (By William H. Seymour, senior vice president, Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.)

Vision programs in industry originally set a quite limited goal—the prevention of accidents. The premise was that if a worker could see better, he could avoid hazards. This limited goal quickly expanded, however, as beneficial side effects were noted by industry. Not only did corrected vision prevent accidents, it also increased worker comfort, eased the tension of eye strain, lessened fatigue, and increased worker accuracy and total output.

This evolution from a single, restricted goal into a more comprehensive program has typified our own efforts to bring occupational medicine into the service of industry. The good side effects have often amazed us.

The economic loss to industry, not to mention the human anguish, resulting from eye injuries, has been often noted. It has been estimated that daily some 1,500 industrial workers suffer eye injuries, ranging from partial impairment up to complete loss of sight. Such figures stagger the imagination. But this is only a small segment of the whole problem. Injury to the eyes is one thing, and a tragic one; but contemplate for a moment how many other injuries and even fatalities grow out of uncorrected vision defects. One might safely contend that vision insufficiency enters as a factor into more accidents, and more import.intly into more accidents than any other single type of defect. Hence, important as it may be to avoid accidental eye injuries, it is probably even more important to prevent the far greater number of accidents attributable in whole or in part to faulty vision.

My company, Liberty Mutual, looks upon visual disability as it does upon other types of physical disability. It should not be a deterrent to employment, if the conditions are known and the individual seeks correction and is properly placed. We are far more interested in an individual's abilities than in his disabilities. Accurate appraisal of an individual's disabilities is a preliminary step made necessary only to arrive at corrective or compensatory measures which then lead to a realistic final determination of his positive abilities.

For years, in fact ever since our company was organized 47 years ago, we have pioneered in industrial safety engineering. Some time ago the limitations of this unilateral approach became evident. Despite the considerable progress in accident reduction attained through machine guarding, improved housekeeping, safety education and better work methods, it was all too obvious that even if these were brought to near perfection much of the problem of accident causation would remain untouched. Emphasis upon environmental factors was clearly not sufficient so long as the human factor, known to be present in every accident, was largely ignored. We had done a good job in the control of environmental factors and had made tentative advances, of perhaps debatable value, into safety educational philosophy; but the individual worker as a unique personality remained a virgin fortress. Everyone felt that the individual worker, with his inner tensions, emotional conflicts, indefinable attitudes, physical frailties, and mental imitations, played a preponderant role in accident-producing situations, but to most of us the human psyche was a book with seven seals.

It became apparent, therefore, that the next decisive breakthrough by the accident prevention profession would derive from an exploration of the personal causes of accidents. This led us directly into industrial medicine in all its phases. From the beginning, we regarded our industrial medical staff as an integral part of our loss prevention department, but a part dedicated to a comprehensive investigation of the worker as a human being, as a bundle of human factors.

This study of the personal factors in accident causation has sharpened our thinking, has brought out some surprising facts, and has explained some of the opinions we held formerly but could not justify. We realize now the overriding importance of worker attitude and motivation, how irritations which are seemingly minor can grow into major problems, and how sensory deficiencies (especially in vision) may appear unimportant or even go unnoticed but may lie at the root of accidents, headaches, emotional upsets, lowered efficiency, and unnecessary fatigue and depression. Since this discussion concerns vision, I shall limit my remaining remarks to this aspect of the problem.

Vision is almost universally regarded as the most valuable of our senses. It gives us more information about the world we live in than any other sense. It follows from this that we should take every possible measure to conserve our vision and to correct its deficiencies.

Industry has rather generally realized the value of adequate illumination, prevention of glare, and the effective use of contrast and colors. It still must be educated beyond these environmental improvements and induced to take greater interest in the vision of the individual worker. This educational project has some obstacles which should be carefully noted.

That vision defects contribute heavily to accidents is becoming widely recognized, not only in factories and commercial establishments, but also among commercial drivers, The latter, in particular, are becoming more aware of the importance not only of visual acuity but also of depth perception, field of vision, and color discrimination. However, there is a lingering belief on the part of many managements that the individual worker is usually aware of his vision inadequacies and has had them corrected so far as possible. Unfortunately, this belief is often ill-founded.

The onset of impaired vision, whether through disease or the aging process, is frequently so gradual and subtle that the affected person may be totally unaware of his loss until some accidental circumstances brings it forcibly to his attention. Small day-to-day changes are difficult to perceive. Every parent experiences this in his child. When the child is seen daily, no great change is noticed; but when he returns from an absence of only a week, the change is often rather jolting.

Even when this belief, or prejudice, of industry has been dispelled, I believe you will not find it easy to sell management on a comprehensive eye-examination program. On this subject I can speak with some degree of confidence founded upon many years of selling management on accident prevention measures. If I may be permitted to close this discussion with a word of advice and still avoid the allegation of presumption, I would submit the following:

I believe vision programs must be sold to industry on a selective basis. This is the way we sell our accident control programs. We select certain hazardous conditions; bring them to the attention of management; show their probable costly consequences; and explain clearly what can be done about them. If management buys our bit of accident prevention and sees its good results, we can sell a bigger bit next time. Evenutally, we can sell a needed comprehensive program.

The same can be done with vision programs. Select certain operations where vision plays a prominent part, perhaps an operation involving only a few workers. Prove your point with this small sample and management will take the next step. Eventually, management may ask for the full program of vision conservation..


Maybe your company doesn't have a vision program. If so, there's nothing to stop you doing the needed job for yourself. Here's how, in three steps:

1. Find out whether your eyes are doing a good or a poor job. If your production record is slipping, if you are having accidents, that may be the tipoff. If your eyes hurt, you feel slack, your vision is foggy, you make frequent trips to the dispensary for headache or upset stomach, that's a pretty sure sign that your eyes are laboring worse than a burnt-out bearing.

2. Analyze what the seeing needs of your job are. Must you be able to see clearly at 20 feet, or 15 inches, or both? How much work area must your gaze cover; a square inch or a square yard? Moving objects or still? Bright or dark?

3. Take your job analysis to a competent eyesight specialist, ask him to make a thorough examination, and tell him exactly what your work requirements are. In the vast majority of cases he can give you, through carefully prescribed spectacles, exactly what your eyes need and lack; spectacles with one, two, or three lens powers for varying distances, if that's what is needed.

Industrial concerns that have installed vision programs did it because it pays. Why else? Production records have jumped 15 to 20 percent, spoilage and breakage have dropped off, labor turnover has diminished, absence for sickness has declined. Hourly earnings of employees have jumped sensationally in some cases.

If it's good for the company it's good for you. Better attend to it before well, before you wish you had. And while you are at it, get smart, up-to-date glasses that you will be proud to wear.



Elmer W. Bernitt, Vice President, Automotive Operations, American Motors Corp.

Eye protection is the key to safety engineering and production in America's automobile industry. Vision care is closely related to individual employee skills.

Eye injuries stand high among on-the-job accidents that cost American industry millions of dollars each year.

The loss of man-hours due to industrial vision accidents is a serious drain on our national production capacity.

More and more, safety engineering is assuming a preeminent role in management function. Industry has a big stake in keeping trained workers on the job. The loss of a single employee from a key operation can result in the slowdown of an entire production process. This is of special consideration in the tightly geared operations of an automobile plant where good management practice demands every precaution for the safety and welfare of employees.

The complex nature of automobile production places unusual emphasis on plant safety engineering. Few industries can match the wide variety of job categories in a highly integrated automotive plant, such as American Motors' manufacturing plant at Kenosha, Wis., where more automobiles are produced under one roof than any plant in the world.

At Kenosha, the large concentration of manufacturing and assembly operations calls for unusual rigid enforcement of safety rules. Here, more than 13,000 persons are engaged in building Rambler cars. Demand for the compact Rambler has resulted in more than doubling production in the past year with corresponding increases in the work force. From June 1958 to June 1959, more than 6,000 hourly workers were added at Kenosha, bringing the combined total employment in Milwaukee and Kenosha plants to more than 21,000.

The heavily augmented work forces placed new demands on plant safety departments. To insure safe work environments, plant safety regulations were reexamined and strengthened. Work areas were reevaluated for hazardous or potentially dangerous conditions and safety education for employees stepped up.

Safety programs receive the close attention of top plant management. At Kenosha, a management safety and security committee meets monthly to formulate policies and check performance. Headed by the works manager, the committee includes the director of personnel, the plant safety director, factory superintendents, engineers, and plant protection officials.

Eye protection is particularly stressed in the safety programs. All possible steps are taken to safeguard the vision of employees against accidents. Under our liberal compensation laws, most workers are protected against loss of income due to on-the-job injuries. However, no legislative decree can accurately measure the cost in human suffering resulting from loss or serious impairment of vision.


Indoctrination of employees on eye safety begins the moment they join American Motors. The wearing of safety glasses in restricted areas is described in detail in the company's “On the Job” booklet received by each new employee. Mandatory areas and types of glasses to be worn are emphasized again in training classes attended by all new employees before beginning work assignments.

Workers are instructed that eye protection must be worn in operations involving the handling of acids or caustics, in all types of grinding operations,

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