According to various federal government agencies, the personal and economic costs resulting from work-related eye injuries are alarming. More than 20,000 people suffer from eye injuries every year that, in turn, cost the private and public sectors an estimated $300 million each year in medical treatment, lost productivity, and worker compensation. The injuries range from preventable eye strain among computer workers to severe physical trauma resulting in vision loss, permanent damage, and blindness among industrial workers.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep your eyes safe from injuries at work.
Vigilance Is a Must
It takes little effort to protect your eyes from on-the-job hazards although emphasis must also be made that vigilance in eye protection is a must. You cannot and should not let your guard down because even a single small misstep can result in severe eye injuries. You may want to undergo the proper training to ensure that, indeed, the principles and practices of safety in the workplace have been ingrained in your system, so to speak.
Know the Dangers
Before starting your work, you have to carefully look around, identify the eye dangers, and remove them, if possible. These dangers include but aren’t limited to flying objects like bits of glass and metal, particles, tools, and chemicals as well as any combination of these hazards. You should also use work screens and machine guarding, among other engineering controls.
Wear Eye Protection
The type of eye protection necessary depends on the possible hazards in the workplace, said protection of which should be compliant with OSHA regulations. A few examples include:
- Filter lenses and masks for welding and cutting activities especially since welding fumes can cause severe eye irritation (i.e., welders’ burn)
- Safety side goggles with side shields for workers in an area with particles, dust, and flying objects
- Safety goggles for workers handling chemicals
- Special-purpose safety glasses or goggles, face shields, and helmets for workers near things emitting hazardous radiation, such as fiber optics, lasers, and welding machines.
Even people who are passing through work areas with high risks of injury should wear safety glasses, too. While your prescription glasses from Sam’s Club is a must for good vision, keep in mind that it isn’t suitable as is in an industrial workplace – you have to find solutions such that you can wear your glasses while also wearing safety goggles.
But if an eye injury happens, you should never attempt to solve it on your own, much less rub and wash your eyes. Your best course of action is to go to the emergency room or the office clinic for proper medical attention.