When it comes to occupational safety, workplace eye protection should be a top priority in every industry.
Workplace eye safety isn’t only for high-risk jobs in which workers are normally seen wearing eye protection, such as construction. Job-related eye injuries can occur even in mundane office environments.
Serious eye injuries can sometimes lead to permanent vision loss, so workplace eye safety should always be taken seriously.
Read on to learn about the types of protective equipment you should wear, the most common work-related eye injuries to look out for, and how you can work to eliminate hazards that affect eye health in the workplace. These eye safety tips for work are a more specific look at our general Workplace Safety Tips for Employees list.
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Most workplace injuries that affect eye health can be easily prevented if workers simply wear eye protection.
Both the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health as well as the American Optometric Association strongly recommend using defensive measures such as safety goggles as well as other protective equipment in order to prevent eye injury.
While wearing workplace eye protection is certainly the most important thing, protective eyewear comes in many different forms, and they shouldn’t be used interchangeably.
Improper use of ocular protection can make matters worse and even increase the risk of ocular injuries. It’s important to wear personal protective eyewear that actually offers sufficient protection for your specific task or environment.
What are 3 examples of eye protection? There’s no limit – the more examples, the better. Here are some of the most common forms of eye safety equipment to be aware of.
Ordinary eyewear, such as prescription glasses as well as contact lenses, offer adequate protection for workers in pedestrian office environments. (Yes, even office workers need safety tips too)
Contact lenses not only improve vision for those who need them but can also help workers to avoid digital eye strain caused by squinting at their computer screens for long periods.
Safety glasses can provide adequate protection from dust and flying particles that may cause eye injury for those who work in environments with heavy debris, such as construction workers.
However, safety glasses are not sufficient for those working with high-risk equipment such as nail guns, jackhammers, and engineering controls.
These individuals will require a more robust form of face protection.
A face shield is recommended for individuals working in certain hazardous roles, such as those that involve wire handling or welding.
Face shields and other forms of protective gear, such as full-face respirators and helmets, can be a great asset to those working in these challenging environments.
Chemical burns can be incredibly serious, and they require medical treatment as soon as possible to prevent grave consequences.
Wearing safety glasses while handling chemicals is not recommended, as they do not protect against these substances. Only defensive gear approved for working with chemicals, such as chemical splash goggles, should be used in these circumstances.
Side shields are parts of certain forms of defensive eyewear that wrap around the sides of the face to offer additional protection.
Safety glasses with these features can be a tremendous advantage but are still primarily recommended for relatively low-risk environments. They do not offer medium impact protection the way some other safety devices do.
Impact goggles are designed to protect the wearer from being hit by flying objects with considerable force. These are necessary for individuals working with explosive power tools, jackhammers, and similar equipment.
What is the most suitable way to prevent eye injuries in the workplace?
Educating your staff about the proper precautions to take to prevent injury to the eyes and face is the most important step.
Make office workers aware of the dangers of digital eye strain. Teach construction workers to perform a hazard assessment of their working environment. Make sure everyone knows the proper form of protection to wear at any given time.
Like any tools used in the workplace, safety gear for the eyes and face does not last forever. Using broken, out-of-date, or inefficient defensive gear is unsafe and can lead to further unwanted complications. Make sure all safety equipment is properly maintained at all times.
Chemicals are one of the most hazardous substances that can come into contact with your eyes, so it is imperative to use extreme caution when working with them.
Never handle chemicals without suitable ocular protection, and be sure to educate workers on the proper forms of eyewear to be worn when using chemicals.
If the eyewear used in your working environment is tinted or equipped with magnification settings, consider these when evaluating safety. These features can cause blurred vision and otherwise affect the user’s ability to see in certain lighting conditions, so they should be used sparingly and with mindful intent.
Knowing the symptoms of common ocular ailments caused by work-related activities can help you catch them before its too late. If you notice pain, redness, blurred vision, or any other unusual feeling in your eyes, seek assistance from a qualified medical professional immediately.
In the event of an accident requiring medical attention, a plan must be in place to assist an injured worker as quickly as possible. Make everyone on staff aware of the locations of the nearest hospital emergency departments, and have an established protocol for speedy and responsible transportation of injured workers.
Work-related eye injuries can happen when you least expect them, and serious workplace accidents can even damage the injured eye permanently.
For this reason, employers and workers alike must be constantly on guard for potential eye hazards and understand the safety barriers that must be put in place and the appropriate eye protection to use in a given situation.
Educating your team about eye hazards and safety is the best way to prevent workplace eye injury. And hopefully, these eye safety tips for employees will help your crew stay safe on the job.