Tired Mauna Kea Workers Welcome Portable Oxygen Units

Published: Jan. 3, 2006 at 10:44 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 12, 2011 at 7:48 PM HST
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KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - The W.M. Keck Observatory on the Big Island has become the first observatory in the world to offer oxygen to its employees.

The goal is to prevent employees from feeling tired while working in high altitudes.

A 25-thousand dollar grant from the M-R and Evelyn Hudson Foundation allowed the observatory atop Mauna Kea volcano to provide oxygen to its workers through portable units.

Oxygen levels at the 13-thousand, 796-foot summit are only 60 percent of that at sea level.

Some workers have noticed that the limited oxygen has caused them to make more mathematical errors, feel fatigued and lose attention.

Observatory spokeswoman Laura Kraft said some workers complained they were feeling worn out.

Facilities Engineer Craig Nance says he often felt tired and winded before the additional oxygen was available.

But he says the oxygen units make him feel fine.