Blog Post #569 – Laser Causes Vision Problems

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

The Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) in southern Ontario has charged six teens with a variety of criminal and federal counts following an incident in which a green laser pointer beam was directed into the cab of a police helicopter.

At about 12:30 AM on July 29, 2011, the DRSP’s Air1 helicopter was patrolling over Oshawa, Ontario when the beam is directed at the cockpit. Although the pilot was not affected, another crew member “received a direct strike and experience vision problems,” notes a statement from police.

Crew members were able to identify the originating location of the beam and Richard Roughly was arrested that night. Five other young people were also in the backyard at the time were arrested on August 8, 2011.

Curtis Lee, Aaron Mountjoy, Andrew Capesky, Dale Branton, Alana Capesky and Roughly, all 18, have been charged with assault with a weapon causing bodily harm, nuisance and mischief endangering life. They also face counsel projecting a bright light source at an aircraft, contrary to the Canadian Aviation Act, as well as interfering with the performance of the crew-member’s duties and lessening his ability to perform duties, both in breach of the Aeronautics Act.

My opinion

Sure, they were only 18! Sure, they didn’t really mean it! Sure, their parents promise it will never happen again! I wonder if they really realize how dangerous their actions were? What happens if the pilot was affected and there was no backup plan? All these things were going through my head when I read the story. If the helicopter had gone down with all hands without knowing why then it would’ve been just a reported tragedy, possibly attributed to pilot error or a proposed mechanical failure.

Now we know that pointing a laser at an aircraft is deemed to be unlawful, dangerous and possibly deadly. I do hope these six young people have learned their lesson and realize the mistake that they made.

I wonder if they realize that they were directly responsible for the lives of the entire crew. I bet you it never even crossed their minds. I wonder if they realize that they had created an occupational hazard and people could’ve been hurt working on the job. Again, I bet should never even crossed their minds.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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