What do tiny flying particles, contact with chemicals, and swinging objects have in common? They are the most common causes of eye injuries in the workplace, and all put you at risk. Not many people realize that the workplace is a leading source of eye trauma, loss of vision, disability, and blindness. Of the 2,000 employees each day who sustain job-related eye injuries, 10 to 20 percent will be disabled due to temporary or permanent loss of vision. Many safety experts agree that proper eye protection could reduce the severity or prevent the injury in about 90 percent of these cases.
Types of Eye Injuries.
Workers experience eye injuries on the job for two major reasons. They were not wearing eye protection or they were wearing the wrong kind of protection for the job. Eye injuries range from minor burns, cuts, and bruises to total blindness. Welding equipment, power tools and machinery play a big part in causing injuries. Chemicals such as acids and adhesives can splash into the eyes and cause serious damage. Even particles from hammering, grinding and sanding can easily fly into the eyes. The cost of such injuries is enormous, both for the worker and the American public, which covers nearly $4 billion a year in workers compensation claims and lost productivity.
Put ‘Em On!
It’s a proven fact that the best thing you can do to protect your vision on the job is to wear safety glasses or goggles. Even if you do have your safety glasses on, keep in mind that there are a variety of ways you can get debris in your eyes. Some accidents happen by simply taking off your safety glasses or goggles and wiping your face; particles can easily fall out of eyebrows or hair and into your eyes. Safety glasses should rest firmly on top of the nose and close to – but not against – the face. Don’t let uncomfortable, foggy or sight-restrictive safety glasses keep you from wearing your safety glasses or goggles.
Find a Good Fit
You can find many ways to make safety glasses or goggles work for you, such as:
· If you find safety glasses uncomfortable, experiment with different sizes or styles.
· Wear glasses or goggles that are properly ventilated for the work you are performing. Unless you are working near splash hazards, use goggles that have plenty of side ventilation.
· If you wear prescription glasses, wear goggles designed to fit over your glasses or safety glasses made with your prescription.
If your goggles fog up, try a model with more ventilation or coat them with an anti-fog liquid. Wear a sweatband or handkerchief around your head to keep sweat off your goggles. Always keep your safety glasses clean. Scratched and dirty glasses or goggles reduce vision, cause glare and may contribute to accidents.
It takes only one accident to cause partial or complete blindness. Take a moment to think about possible eye hazards in your workplace and then take the necessary precautions to help reduce your risk of potential eye injuries
What should be done in an eye emergency?
Seek medical attention as soon as possible following an injury, particularly if you have pain in the eye, blurred vision or loss of any vision. Several simple first aid steps can and should be taken until medical assistance is obtained.
First aid for chemicals in the eye:
· Immediately flush the eye with water for at least 15 minutes. Place the eye under a faucet or shower, use a garden hose, or pour water into the eye from a clean container.
· If you are wearing contact lenses, immediately remove them before flushing the eye.
· Do not try to neutralize the chemical with other substances.
· Do not bandage the eye.
· Seek immediate medical attention after flushing.
First aid for particles in the eye:
· Do not rub the eye.
· Try to let your tears wash the speck out, or irrigate the eye with an artificial tear solution.
· Try lifting the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower eyelid to remove the particle.
· If the particle does not wash out, keep the eye closed, bandage it lightly and seek medical care. Some particles, particularly metallic ones, can cause rusting spots on the eye if left untreated for several days. If you are unsure if the object is gone, do not delay medical care.
First aid for blows to the eye:
· Gently apply a cold compress without putting pressure on the eye. Crushed ice in a plastic bag can be placed gently on the injured eye to reduce pain and swelling.
· In cases of severe pain or reduced vision, seek immediate medical care.
If you have any questions any information found in this posting, please contact the LL Roberts Group or our new Safety Division, Roberts Risk Management (toll free) at 877.878.6463. You can even talk to us on Facebook or Twitter!