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Topic Title: Colour blindness
Topic Summary: is this still classed as a problem
Created On: 16 April 2005 12:39 AM
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 08 May 2006 12:37 PM
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deleted_rsobrany

Posts: 241
Joined: 23 January 2006

The problem is the colour vision test.

There are a number of different colour vision tests available and the most commonly used is the Ishihara test. This is a very high standard test and works more as a pass fail test than a measure of how good (or bad) one is at discriminating red from green. Other tests such as the Farnsworth or City University are graded rather than pass fail tests, and lantern tests are used for railway and marine workers because they are more representative than the Ishihara test for identifying warning lights.

The Ishihara test is regarded as the gold standard of colour vision tests and many employers swear by it, but it has its critics who claim it is an unrealistic test for anything other than paint matching for restoring antique paintings. I think it is a totally unsuitable test for young children. The fact it is a pass fail test is why so many who perform badly on an Ishihara test are termed colour blind when it usually isn't the case. There are also people who pass the Ishihara test but fail lantern tests.
 17 May 2006 01:20 PM
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iie63674

Posts: 80
Joined: 17 May 2006

All this proves one thing - never rely on perceived colour to identify conductors. Control system designers need to use alphanumeric codes. Otherwise the combination of defective colour vision, inappropriate lighting, and long-term degradation of colours, can lead to dangerous confusion.
 17 May 2006 02:39 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

Another different case come up today. We use bi-colour red/green LEDs for failure information on one of our products, and we were informed by our major customer that this was now non-preferred as maintenance technicians were threatening that this was discrimination against colour blind staff. So we will be moving to seperate indications on future products.

(Ironically, both the designer of the indications and the validation engineer for the equipment are red/green colour blind!)

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 28 May 2006 01:03 PM
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deleted_rsobrany

Posts: 241
Joined: 23 January 2006

Most people who "fail" the Ishihara test have no problem distinguishing a red LED from a green LED even at a distance. LEDs output saturated monochromatic light, whereas the Ishihara test uses highly desaturated colours and is a very sensitive test of red green colour discrimination.

There is another situation called metamerism where colours appear different under different light sources. It is possible for two colours to be distinguishable under one light source and indistinguishable under a different light source. Metamerism has to be taken into account by interior designers but isn't usually an issue faced by electronic engineers unless they are developing new types of light bulbs.

The Ishihara test is only valid if performed under daylight.
 28 May 2006 07:38 PM
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gkenyon

Posts: 4480
Joined: 06 May 2002

quote:

Originally posted by: rsobrany
Metamerism has to be taken into account by interior designers but isn't usually an issue faced by electronic engineers unless they are developing new types of light bulbs.
Unless your work (or work you are planning, supervising or otherwise managing) is covered by the Electricity at Work Regulations in the UK.

Regulation 15 in particular requires " ... adequate lighting ...", and one would be required to ensure that the light source did not cause the problems you quite correctly highlight.

Example of where, in particular, an electronics engineer would be required to consider it: troubleshooting, fault-finding, etc., on an assembly (or board) that contains hazardous live as well as ELV (such as SMPSU or mains power controller e.g. professional dimmer circuit).

-------------------------
Eur Ing Graham Kenyon CEng MIET TechIOSH
 27 June 2006 12:14 PM
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deleted_maserano

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Joined: 27 June 2006

Im a undergraduate student taking electrical and electronics engineering... Im a 2nd year 2nd semester student... i have 2 more years of study before graduate...

Unfortunately, recently i went for medical check up.... i just want to reconfirmed either Im colour blind or not... So i have to accept that Im a colour blind person....

Im a red/green colour blind... during the colour blind test, i had problem with green colour but not with red.... i dont know why i have colour blind because i still can distinguish the traffic light colour, the red and green LED's colour, resistor colour code and also the snooker ball...huhu.. but why when i went for colour blind test i failed? urghh...

What makes me feel anxiety is i have no future in this field... i dont think the industry or any factory will hire me working as an engineer because Im colour blind.... i dont know either i have any alternative so that i can get a job after graduate on the next 2 years....

i also need to choose a specialisation during my final year.... there are 5 majoring : microelectronics, telecommunication, instrumentation and control, power and lastly computer....

i hope u guys can help me choosing the right specialisation that can give me a bright future or at least slightly better chances of getting job after graduating later....

Tq

Edited: 27 June 2006 at 12:22 PM by deleted_maserano
 27 June 2006 04:02 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

Don't panic!

As I mentioned above, two of my senior engineers are red/green colour blind(one of them previously worked as a research student and then ran two successful electronics engineering businesses). It doesn't worry them, and it doesn't worry me.

Working as a technician you could have a problem, working as an engineer you shouldn't have.

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 28 June 2006 06:14 AM
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achung

Posts: 364
Joined: 22 November 2001

quote:

Originally posted by: maserano
Im a red/green colour blind... during the colour blind test, i had problem with green colour but not with red.... i dont know why i have colour blind because i still can distinguish the traffic light colour, the red and green LED's colour, resistor colour code and also the snooker ball...huhu.. but why when i went for colour blind test i failed? urghh...

i also need to choose a specialisation during my final year.... there are 5 majoring : microelectronics, telecommunication, instrumentation and control, power and lastly computer....

i hope u guys can help me choosing the right specialisation that can give me a bright future or at least slightly better chances of getting job after graduating later....


Maserano

I am not a medical professional but I had to pass the most servere colour blind test before I was admitted to the college to read colour chemistry. From that experience I know that there are different serverity in colour blindness test. Besides, for or a green/red colour blind person, s/he cant distinguish green and red traffic light. If you still worry about this and would like to know more about the exact degree of colour deficiency of your eye, I advise you to see an eye specialist, ophthalmologist, for a second opinion.

Hope that helps

-------------------------
Allen Chung
MSc(Eng) MSc CEng MIET MIEE CPEng MIEAust MHKCS SeniorMIIE
 28 June 2006 07:24 AM
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deleted_maserano

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thank u guys for your opinion and advise....
 05 July 2006 01:24 PM
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deleted_explodie

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I feel very let down by the Ishihara test as I feel it is not representative of anything I deal with in my work. I have no problems differentiating between red & green, brown & red or green and blue. I am fully able to wire both cat 5 cable and read resistor value colour charts, yet I have failed tis Ishihara test twice.
 05 July 2006 01:25 PM
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deleted_explodie

Posts: 5
Joined: 05 July 2006

Hi,

I have recently just been subjected to a series of company medicals which are required of all employees in my company. I am a trainee control systems design engineer and due to the nature of my work, i.e. being sent abroad to work on customer sites (power stations/oil refineries, etc)I had to take the medical.

I failed the Ishihara colour test on my 1st medical and I have since been sent to a "specialist" (in what this doctor specialises in I would not like to guess...)to be re-tested using a full compliment of Ishihara tests. Once again I failed. I have been told that I have Deutranomly and therefore I cannot "safely work in this industry".

The main concern of my employer is that I could have problems in telling the difference in 3 phase cabling and the like, but I can very clearly see the differences between brown & red, black & grey, green & red and any other combination of colour coding I am presented with. Further to this I studied Telecoms engineering were I had no trouble wiring cat 5 cabling and I am perfectly able to read resistor colour code charts.

I have been told that within the coming weeks I can no longer continue to work for my employer. My employer has been excellent in terms of support, etc, but is there nothing else I can do to be further checked for colour recognition difficulties?

I feel very let down by the Ishihara test as I feel it is not representative of anything I deal with in my work.

Any advice or help that anyone has would be greatly appreciated as I love my job and my chosen profession and I am determinded to exhaust every possiblity that I can continue to do this before thinking about retraining or something along those lines,

Thanks,

Tony McCann
 02 May 2008 03:52 AM
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electricpete

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Joined: 02 May 2008

ive been a spark for over 30years no trouble with phase colours but trouble with paired (telecom cable)tend not to tell employers im colourblind just hope no medical when boss gives me cables i cant do i would confide in mates to help out or pass the buck,i never do any thing im not sure about nowadays come across cables i cant distinquish i own up to boss as im near retirement 50ish most will symithise and let you work on phase colous and leave multi coloured cable for others.
 25 November 2008 02:52 PM
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kbremner

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Joined: 25 November 2008

Hi,

I am currently in my 1st year of a degree in Electronics & Software Engineering at Glasgow University. Recently, I had to go through a medical, which involved the colour vision test using the book with the different coloured circles and numbers(??)

From that, the woman told me I was colour blind, but it reminded me that I had been told in secondary school that I had a colour vision defect, involving dark browns and reds.

Anyway, because of the nature of my degree, I don't want to go through it to find I can't get a job in electronics, and so I'm trying to get my colour vision tested further. However, I can't find any information on how to sit an electronics trade test for colour vision.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

Edited: 25 November 2008 at 02:53 PM by kbremner
 25 November 2008 04:57 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

It depends what you expect to do when you graduate - see my note above. Most graduate electronics engineers today should not need perfect colour vision. Take any opportunity you can to meet employers - e.g. at IET events - and talk to them to find out what sort of roles exist for graduates. I can almost gaurantee that as long as your vision is good enough for you to use CAD systems (which it sounds like it is) then you won't find it much more difficult finding work than anyone with full colour vision - as long as you don't want to work in the video industry.

The only reason we check our staff for colour vision is because some have to work on the railway track, where not being able to tell the difference between a red signal and a green would be a bit of a problem! (Even then, they're not banned from working on the track, just have to be accompanied.) For debugging a PIC or programming an FPGA it's completely irrelevent.

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 25 November 2008 06:12 PM
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hamishbell

Posts: 288
Joined: 11 September 2001

I have the same symptoms, but it hasn't been a problem. I was tested during my postgraduate training by the personnel department and told about it. Quote: "You won't be able to work in the wiring shop , you wouldn't be able to distinguish the multiple striped wires." I was sufficiently brash to reply that I hoped I never had to do that anyway as I was working on the electronic telephone exchanges which would get rid of the need to wire multiple banks of Strowger switches!

I can assure you the only problem I had was to distinguish between green and black in the days when resistors had coloured bands and that was easily solved by checking the value with a meter.
REgards
Hamish

-------------------------
Hamish V Bell, BSc, CEng, FIET, FCQI, CQP
2013 - 2016 Elected Council Member
2007 - 2010, Vice President and Trustee
 13 January 2009 06:55 AM
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Samuel Chan

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Joined: 02 August 2002

Someone told me that as I'm color blindness, I can't studied Electronic Engineering. Then I studied Electrical Engineering (In HK, these are two different courses).

After graduated, my 1st job needed me to make a printer testing cable (which has many different colors wires). I quitted as I failed to do it.

Later on I worked as an Electrical Engineer in a E&M Design Company that no need to distinguish real cables but stated in drawings/specifications.

When I'm old now, I looked back. If my color blindness is leading me to Electrical Engineering or blocking me to Electronic Engineering??
 30 January 2009 05:36 PM
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telecomtom

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Originally posted by: jcatt

Can I try to clear this one up. I have a deficiency in red, green colour perception (note-not blindness!!). Of course I am not colour blind and have been carrying out electrical work for many years without a problem. I can identify many multicore colours when bunched together. When I failed the perception test I asked for an alternative one and was given practical tasks to complete which proved I was suitable to work in the electrical industry.
 23 April 2013 10:29 AM
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BippyM

Posts: 1
Joined: 23 April 2013

Hi Guys,

Sorry to resurrect this old thread, but I would like a little advice.

In school I was diagnosed with red/green colour deficiency. I was told at that age I would be unable to take many career paths, and as such I ended up as a fast food restaurant manager!

My father was an electrician and I had always wanted to follow in his footsteps, but due to my colour issues I never even considered it, however as I have aged (I am now 37) I have noticed that my colour deficiency doesn't seem too bad. I fail the ishihara tests convincingly, and my children think this is funny, but I have passed this test: Link removed/color-arrangement-test/. My dad sadly passed away in 2008, this along with my recent determination to not let this hold me back anymore I have enrolled on a City & Guilds 2365 Level 2/3 course to train as an electrical engineer.

I want to do this more than anything else right now, and change my career. I have read this forum and I am hopeful in that I will be absolutely fine as an electrician, and would welcome advice and guidance from you guys as I don't want to waste 3 years of my life (Part time course due to family/existing work commitments) completing a course and then be unable to do anything with it.

Thanks for your time

Edited: 23 April 2013 at 11:26 AM by BippyM
 24 April 2013 06:33 PM
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kengreen

Posts: 400
Joined: 15 April 2013

Yes, this is a another old wives tale which has ts roots in the belief that " ... you all are fools ...".

For several years I worked alongside a colleague who had the red/green (no)problem . Like the legless man he knew of his disability and made the best of kit. If he drew a resistor from the store cupboard he simply held it up for me to check the code: Ken 's not around ? Then the multimeter is. The driving test insists that you demonstrate an awareness of the traffic-light sequence because, there are lighting conditions which can fool even those with normal vision. Believe me myopia is a REAL challenge when you work in a television studio .

Those who suffer these defects learn quickly to be careful and checking , double-checking and then checking again ought to be part of any engineer's training.
Ken Green
or, as old man, wit a keyboard with a wa ndring CA
 26 April 2013 09:48 PM
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jencam

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The problem lies with managers who subject employees to the Ishihara test without understanding how it works or what its limitations are. Chances are that they are unaware that other colour vision tests exist or they use the Ishihara test because everybody else seems to be using it. The extremely sensitive property of the Ishihara test combined with its pass fail grading has fabricated the misconception that anybody who fails the test cannot tell a red object from a green object. Most people who fail the Ishihara test can easily tell red from green and identify the conductors of multicore cables.

Does the IET have any members with expert knowledge of colour vision testing who are capable of developing a fairer colour vision test for electronic engineering to replace the rather unjust Ishihara test?
IET » Other and general engineering discussions » Colour blindness

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