Employers are required to assess eye safety hazards in the workplace and take measures to ensure employee safety through compliance with government regulations for eyewear and emergency eyewash stations.
In research with manufacturing, construction, service and retail workers, 100 percent of participants cited fogging as a factor for not wearing personal protective eyewear, and over 55 percent suggested an antifogging solution to increase usage of personal protective eyewear.8 By taking the necessary measures to reduce the fogging of protective eyewear, employers will likely see an increase in compliance with eye protection recommendations, and increased worker safety.
JOBS AND ACTIVITIES THAT POSE A DANGER TO YOUR EYES
Many job activities have the potential to cause eye injury; some are more obvious than others. Common causes of eye injuries include:
- Projectiles (dust, concrete, metal, wood and other particles).
- Chemicals (splashes and fumes).
- Radiation (especially visible light, ultraviolet radiation, heat or infrared radiation and lasers).
- Bloodborne pathogens (hepatitis or HIV) from bodily fluids including blood
The use of proper eye protection, such as safety glasses, goggles, face shields and helmets can prevent countless eye injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires the use of eye and face protection whenever there is a chance of injury that could be prevented by such equipment. The right eye protection for each work situation depends upon the type of hazard, the circumstances of exposure, other protective equipment used and individual vision needs.
Safety eyewear protection includes:
- Non-prescription (plano) and prescription (nonplano) safety glasses.
- Face shields
- Welding helmets
- Full-face respirators
Do’s and Don’ts of Emergency Eye Care
If an eye accident occurs, see a medical doctor or eye care professional as soon as possible since an injury may not be immediately obvious. Until a medical professional can be seen, heed the advice below.
- Protect the eye from further damage by holding a folded cloth over the eye, having it act as a shield.
- Seek eye care immediately.
- Bandage any cuts around the eye to prevent contamination or infection.
- Flush the eye with water in the case of a chemical burn or if there is small debris in the eye.
- Use a cold compress to treat a blunt trauma injury such as a black eye, but be careful not to apply additional pressure.
- Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye as this could worsen the injury.
- Do not wash out the eye when dealing with cuts or punctures to the eye.
- Do not attempt to self-medicate, apply ointments or take any medications, including over-the-counter drugs.
- Do not rub the eye or apply pressure. Doing so may cause more damage.