Eaton's Lighting Solution and Turtles

Worker safety and conserving the environment matter. When it comes to protecting what's important and making what matters work, Eaton is committed to delivering solutions that last.

Sea turtles are among the Earth’s most ancient creates. The seven species still around today have been gracefully gliding through the world’s oceans for 110 million years, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

From shimmering green, to creamy olive and swarthy brown, a sea turtle’s color varies according to its species. So does their size, with the smallest, known as the olive ridley, weighing less than 100 pounds, while the mighty leatherback can grow to 1,300 pounds.

Sea turtles are found in all warm and temperate waters throughout the world. Most undergo long migrations, some as far as 1400 miles, to reach the beaches where they nest. Like salmon, they miraculously find their way back to the same spot where they were born to lay their eggs.

When females come to the shore they dig out a nest in the ground with their back flippers, bury their clutch of eggs and return to the ocean. The young emerge at night, and move toward the ocean – dodging swooping birds and crabs as they go. If they make it to the water they will spend most of their lives there, which can last more than a century.

Sea turtles have fascinated mankind for millennia, playing a starring role in the mythology and folklore of many cultures. Unfortunately, despite their respect for sea turtles, humans have also helped decimate turtle populations. Millions of sea turtles once roamed the earth's oceans, but now only a fraction remain.

Six of the seven species of sea turtles are endangered. Only one in 1000 baby turtles survive into adulthood and they face a range of threats, including climate change, predators, destruction of habitats, accidental capture in fishing nets, and poaching.

One of the lesser known threats to turtles is artificial lighting from beachside communities and infrastructure. The light confuses turtles, which normally follow the moon and stars’ reflection on the waves to navigate back to water, making them more vulnerable to predators and dehydration.

On Western Australia ’s Barrow Island, a Class ‘A’ Nature Reserve, Eaton worked with Chevron to supply lighting solutions that help protect the island’s sea turtles. Chevron needed to provide lighting that enabled engineers to work safely underwater, meeting strict health & safety standards. At the same time, the lights also had to meet special requirements that allow hatchlings of the nearby turtle population to orient themselves and migrate safely to the sea.

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After two years of testing, Eaton delivered special covers and light filters on more than 20,000 fluorescent units. The lights provide enough illumination for personnel to work safely in Gorgon plant – one of the world’s largest natural gas projects that Chevron operated, but they are also the right color spectrum to allow the turtle hatchlings to orient themselves and migrate safely to the sea.