About 2,000 eye-related work injuries occur in the U.S. every day!
With approximately 2,000 occupational eye injuries occurring each day in the U.S. alone, eye protection should be a main concern for employers managing hazardous work environments. More often than not, workplace injuries can be avoided by putting comprehensive health and safety protocols in place. This includes conducting a hazard assessment before work begins, training employees on the correct way to use personal protection equipment and mitigating unnecessary dangers. When it comes to eye injuries, there are certain scenarios and jobs that could lead to harm - here are five of the most common:
"Workers should undergo regular vision testing to promote workplace safety."
1. Uncorrected vision problems Safety Business and Legal Resources, a company that helps businesses reach state and federal safety standards, notes that uncorrected vision can be a major cause of accidents. To mitigate this risk, workers should undergo regular vision testing. Consider that if a worker can't see well, it can cause two main hazards. For one, the worker may lean in closer in order to better see what he or she is doing, which could result in an eye injury. Secondly, a worker with uncorrected vision may make a miscalculation due to not being able to see , resulting in mistakes, accidents or injuries to other parts of the body.
2. Masonry or carpentry work The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that construction workers have one of the highest rates of eye injuries. One reason for this frequency is that construction workers often complete tasks that send dust, wood chips, slag or other particles into the air. The CDC points out that common masonry and carpentry tasks, such as sanding, grinding, hammering and cutting, all send particles or scraps of excess material airborne. Make sure to have appropriate eyewear for the job at hand, and keep in mind that the sides of eyes will also need to be protected.
3. Welding torches Remember that when a person is welding he or she is not the only person that should be wearing protective eyewear. Bystanders, assistants and supervisors should all also wear appropriate PPE when working near these tools. Since welding torches expose workers to high levels of UV radiation, specific safety glasses with UV protection against welding arcs and flashes are necessary.
4. Hazardous conditions For workers tackling major projects outdoors, the day-to-day change of weather conditions can have a large affect on eye safety. For example, a particularly windy day at a construction site can send excess grit into the air, potentially leading to a higher risk of eye injuries than normal. Make sure to always have emergency safety supplies on hand, especially when conditions are unpredictable. In the case of wind blowing particles airborne, the American Optometric Association recommends having eye wash available to help irrigate the eye and remove any debris.
5. Wearing the wrong protection To make workplace eye safety a main priority, you have to be wearing the appropriate glasses, goggles or face-mask for the job. If you're wearing the wrong type of protection, you're more likely to get injured - plain and simple. Deciding on the appropriate eyewear for a specific work environment should be part of the hazard assessment that is done before a job commences. Make a point of ensuring that all eyewear is undamaged, clean and in good condition, and also update procedural practices as needed. If conditions on the job change, reevaluate the potential hazards and switch out your eyewear accordingly.