The purpose of today’s safety message is about eye protection. I'm sharing this information to help our readers see clearly the importance of protecting the eyes of your workers.
Work related eye injuries blind thousands each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day about 2000 U.S. workers have a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment. About one third of the injuries are treated in hospital emergency departments and more than 100 of these injuries result in one or more days of lost work. These type of injuries not only cause pain and suffering for those injured, but the costs are staggering.
These types of injuries add up to $300 million annually in worker compensation, medical expenses, and lost time in production. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of proper eye protection to prevent eye injuries for your workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific standards dealing with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Workers must be provided eye protection when hazards such as chemical, optical radiation, impact, heat, and dust are present.
The majority of eye injuries are caused by direct contact with chemicals. Chemical hazards include splashes, fumes, mists, and vapors. Optical radiation is radiant energy, intense light, or glares. Work involving lasers create intense concentrations of heat, ultraviolet, infrared, and reflected light radiation. Filtered lenses are needed in this case. Impact hazards consist of flying objects, fragments, particles, or dirt. Injuries could result as punctures, contusions, or abrasions.
When dealing with severe impact hazards, face shields are used as secondary protective devices. A heat hazard is when extreme heat is emitted. Burns to the eyes and face tissue are the main concern when facing heat hazards. Most heat hazards also require a face shield. And when harmful dust is a hazard safety, goggles that provide a protective seal are needed.
When providing personal protective equipment (PPE), employers have standards that must be met. For example, if a worker wears prescription lenses then the employer must either incorporate the prescription into the protective lenses, or provide eye protection that can go over the prescription lenses. Also, the appropriate shade number must be assigned for filters of protective eye wear when light radiation is a possible hazard. Another aspect of PPE is comfort and fit. If the eye protection is poorly fitting then it is not providing the necessary protection. Proper fit will ensure that the PPE will stay in place while in use. For protection against dust or chemical splashes then a proper fitted device should provide a seal.
Training is another requirement that employers need to provide for workers that use PPE. Employers should also provide retraining if an employee does not demonstrate the skills required. In the case of eyewear protection, topics that are essential to cover in training include:
How to properly wear safety eyewear
Which eyewear is necessary
When eyewear is required
Proper care of eye protection devices
Limitations of devices
Along with training, employers also need to create a written protection program. A procedure for PPE should be developed involving selection, fit testing, medical evaluations, training, maintenance, and storage. Not all eye protection or PPE can be used for just any situation. The proper eye protection device must be chosen based on the hazards the worker is exposed to.
Arbill understands the importance of protecting the eyes of your workers. We are here to keep your employees safe and we provide a variety of PPE products to choose from to protect your workers against different hazards. Arbill also provides training, including online courses, on PPE. Our program addresses proper selection, hazards present, use and maintenance of PPE. We offer training on all PPE such as eye, face, foot, hand, and head protection.
To learn more about eye protection or safety training, contact us at 800.523.5367 or visit Arbill at www.arbill.com.
I hope this article sheds some light on the importance of eye protection.
As always, stay safe!