Something as small as a grain of sand can ruin your eyesight. Eyesight is a gift that many of us take for granted and sometimes we simply forget to wear eye protection, or it becomes an inconvenience. Take the time and make the effort to protect you and your employees’ eyesight, so you can avoid the permanent inconvenience of impaired or complete loss of vision. Take a moment to read more and learn how easy it is to protect eyes on the job.
Eye injuries happen in many ways
- Metal fragments or chips can scratch and lacerate the cornea.
- When dust is blown into the eyes, the employee rubs the debris further into eyes resulting in a scratch or infection.
- Debris or dirty hands (used to rub the eyes) can contain bacteria, resulting in a difficult-to-treat infection.
- High-velocity objects penetrate deep into the eye, requiring tedious surgery to remove and repair.
- Highly-traumatic injuries can require the removal of the entire eye.
- Common off the job activities where eye injuries occur include mowing the lawn, weed eating, shooting, using hammers and grinders and vehicle maintenance.
Simple ways to reduce your exposure to eye injury
- Read the owner’s manual provided with power and hand tools. If the manufacturer requires eye protection, use it.
- Survey work areas for possible eye injury hazards.
- Provide education. Train employees about eye injury hazards.
- Develop written safety rules that require employees to wear eye protection when necessary.
- Enforce safety rules. When eye protection is not worn, disciplinary action should result.
- Increase accessibility to cleaning solutions, lens wipes and replacement eyewear.
- Provide an adequate amount of updated safety gear. Get rid of old, scratched-up lenses and don’t make employees share eye protection. Some eyewear purchasing tips include:
- Purchase quality eyewear. Cheap eye protection won’t fit well or last long.
- Make sure you’re purchasing eyewear that fits the employee and is comfortable. Employees won’t wear gear that doesn’t fit or is uncomfortable.
- Remember that simple safety glasses are fine for minimal flying object hazards. Goggles are more appropriate when there is a high splash risk or there are gross amounts of flying objects.
- Face shields protect the entire face and mouth. However, many face shields don’t meet the impact resistance required of ANSI Z87.1-2003. Most all recently-manufactured eye protection meets this standard, but you’ll want to verify before purchase.
- Keep in mind employees with prescription eyewear. You’ll need to make sure they’re provided with prescription-grade eye protection.
Be prepared if an eye injury does occur
First aid certified employees should know how to treat eye injuries, including how to flush solids and liquids from the eyes. Prevent further damage and make sure dirty hands don’t touch the eye. Maintain eyewash stations and keep them as close as possible to areas where eye injuries are most likely to occur. Most importantly, take every eye injury seriously.