Next Monday, people throughout North America will be able to experience an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime event. No, I’m not referring to National Spumoni Day. Around 9am PDT, the moon will appear to cover the sun, forming a total solar eclipse viewable along a path that stretches from Oregon to South Carolina.
If you’re planning on watching the eclipse, you’d better plan on doing so through the lens of compliance. Literally. Pursuant to NASA, eclipse chasers should ensure their viewing devices are compliant with ISO 12312-2 international safety standards. The agency recommends that you review your equipment’s safety rating and details of manufacture, and notes that “[h]omemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun; they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight.”
Yes, even solar eclipse viewing is regulated. It’s not that federal bodies simply love to tell us all what to do; there are real dangers to staring directly at the sun, and without proper eye protection, people may suffer retinal damage that can last a lifetime.
Adherence to regulatory standards keeps us safe. Whether it means wearing personal protective equipment, or preventing workplace harassment or disclosing credit terms under the Truth in Lending Act, compliance is not an arbitrary set of rules, but a critical form of protection. Without it, you’re leaving yourself and your organization exposed—and it’s only a matter of time before you get burned.
Just like the solar eclipse, there are numerous infrequent or uncommon regulations and enforcement actions that can nonetheless impact your organization’s bottom line. (Is your workforce prepared for a CFPB audit, for instance?)