Our eyes are one of our greatest assets. They give us the ability to see the world around us. If we do not protect our eyes from injuries while at work, we could easily lose that ability. There are an estimated 2,000 eye injuries every single day on the job, according to the CDC. These incidents cost employers over $300 million per year. It is important to eliminate or engineer out the hazards that could pose risks to our eyes at work. Many hazards to our eyes on a worksite cannot be fully eliminated, so proper eye protection is also critical.
- Flying dust
- Flying debris
- Blunt trauma to the eye
- Burns due to UV exposure, such as welder’s flash
Best Practices to Avoid Injuries to the Eyes:
- Identify all potential eye hazards in your work area and for your specific work tasks. Ensure there are proper safeguards in place to prevent an eye injury. If there is a safeguard missing, stop the work task and correct the problem.
- Eliminate or lessen the chance of getting something into your eye by avoiding being in the line of fire. One quick example is standing upwind of debris or dust blowing around the work area.
- Always wear approved safety glasses, face shields, or goggles when needed. The type of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed will depend on the work task. Three out of every five victims of eye injuries on the job were not wearing any eye protection.
- If there are welding activities going on, wear proper eye protection and ensure there is a protective barrier in place to protect other employees in the area from UV exposure.
- If you get something in your eye, do not rub or scratch it. Rubbing the eye can cause scratching of the cornea, resulting in injury. Find an eyewash station or saline bottle to rinse out the object.
- If you get a chemical in your eyes, remove your contacts if there are any and begin to rinse your eyes out.