Chemicals and external objects in the eye are typical cases of eye injuries at work. Healthcare workers, welders, construction workers, laboratory and janitorial staff are at higher risk of getting infected from severe eye exposure.
The main reasons such incidents occur are that the workers were not wearing any eye protection or they were wearing the wrong kind of protection.
In most cases where workers suffered eye injuries, it was reported that the worker was not wearing eye protection when the incident took place. This occurs because workers start to feel like they don’t need eye protection in specific tasks of the job.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) strictly compels workers to use the right eye and face protection whenever they feel a possibility of getting an eye or face injury exists. Personal protective eyewear such as safety glasses, face shields, or goggles needs to be used to avoid any eye risk that may exist at work.
Employers need to certify that their employees have critical eye and face protection when needed. The protective gear should be comfortable and suitable for the job type; it should be disinfected, clean, durable, and protect against particular hazards. The type of eye protection that should be used is based upon the kind of risk, the level of eye contact, whether other protective equipment is being used, and the need for vision.
Potential Eye Hazards at Work
We often don’t realize the risks involved while doing a particular task and how bad it affects our eyes until it’s too late. Workplace eyewear protection is crucial when the following hazards exist:
- Severe Radiation: These include ultraviolet radiation, heat or infrared radiation, laser beams, and radiant energy.
- Strong chemicals: Splashes and fumes while working with the most deadly chemicals.
- Projectiles: Concrete, metal, dusty environment, wood, and other particles that put your eyes at risk.
- Bloodborne pathogens: This entails hepatitis and HIV from the blood and body fluids.
Even though the jobs mentioned above require eye protection, some working conditions include multiple eye hazards, and for that, the protection you choose to wear must be accordingly. These are known as high-risk occupations where there are greater chances of getting your eye injured or damaged permanently.
These high work occupations include:
- Auto Repair
- Electrical Work
- High-risk maintenance
Companies should offer the workers the safest work environment as possible. Running an eye hazard evaluation of the workplace, reducing or removing hazards wherever possible and providing the appropriate safety eyewear protection, and making sure the employees wear it is all part of the necessary steps that need to be taken beforehand.
Know the proper steps to protect yourself from these hazards at work. Here are vital things to take into consideration when at work:
- Be fully aware of the risks involved in your work.
- Try and eliminate hazards by using the appropriate tools or equipment, such as a machine guard.
- Always use your eye protection.
- If your safety gear is not in good condition, get it replaced.
The most commonly used eye protection is safety glasses. They come in two types; nonprescription and prescription. Even though they look like standard eyewear, they are specifically made to protect your eyes against intense risks. These are best used for working environments where you are mostly exposed to dust, chips, or flying particles. Better suited for environments much worse than these are side shields and wraparound-style safety glasses.
For any direct hazards like chemical splashes or flying objects, goggles are the best protection. These provide the worker with safety from all directions, so they don’t have to be cautious while carrying out their daily work. They can easily be worn on top of safety glasses and lenses.
Face Shield / Helmet
When a worker is dealing with severe heat, bloodborne pathogens, and chemicals all day long, a proper face shield must protect the eyes and face. It is, however, necessary to note that they must be worn over your safety glasses or goggles to provide maximum protection.
If the eye is in severe pain, the vision is blurry, or there’s a complete loss of vision, then medical assistance should be provided as soon as possible. The best option is always to seek medical attention; however, in some cases, the emergency is not so critical and can be fixed with the help of a first aid kit.
What you should do immediately:
- Wash the eye with water for at least 15 minutes.
- In the case of contact lenses, remove them right away.
- Don’t bandage or cover the eye.
- Seek medical attention in case of intense pain, cut, burn, or bleeding.
Make Safety Your Top Priority
The cost of safety is nothing when compared to the cost of an injury. A safe and healthy workplace is the right of all workers, and it helps draw valuable employees. Safe working conditions will benefit both the employer and the employees. To sum it up, safety is applicable to all businesses.