It’s very easy to take our eyesight for granted. Most of the time we don’t even think about how wonderful it is to possess sight, nor how vulnerable this collection of muscles really is to humans. However, a split second mishap in the workplace can lead to a lifetime of diminished sight or even total blindness. This is why it is so important to practice workplace eye safety. This post’s focus is education on how to keep your eyes safe at work.
Workplace eye injuries are not only dangerous and costly, they are often preventable. Every year in the US alone, over 300 million dollars is lost in productivity and costs surrounding on the job eye injuries according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Many of these injuries could have been prevented by employees choosing to follow simple workplace eye safety guidelines. Educate yourself on proper workplace eye care in order to protect yourself.
Know your Jobsite
Where you work and how you work, determines what you need to be on the lookout for, and how you should protect your eyes. Never bypass safety screens and shields when working on heavy machinery. Although they may be a nuisance and could even slow the job process, they are there for a very important reason and could prevent and injury which could lead to time away from work, and in worst case scenarios, blindness. Always follow workplace specific guidelines, which may or may not include wearing protective eyewear. There are qualifications for protective wear depending on the work and materials which an employee interacts with. If your jobsite requires safety gear, don’t ignore its importance and always follow outlined safety procedures.
Use Protective Eyewear
Some jobs require the extra safety measure of wearing protective eyewear. Things to keep in mind if you are in a situation which requires protective eyewear:
- Ensure a proper fit
- Wear at all times, even when passing by dangerous equipment
- Side protection is a must when working with flying debris
- When handling chemicals, goggles are needed
The rule of thumb here is: if it’s required, or suggested, WEAR IT!!! Not only should you have them on, you should always make sure they are on properly, fit well, and are not removed at any time while in the danger zone. Accidents happen when you least expect them. Even those who are not working with machinery and chemicals, and are simply passing through an area with these dangers, need to adhere to workplace safety protocol.
Ensure that you are following OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines for eye and face protection. OSHA outlines guidelines for the type of eyewear needed for specific types of work, including welding and cutting work. Simply knowing the guidelines is not enough, employees need to adhere to the guidelines at all times.
As a manager, it’s impossible to enforce the use of protective gear at all times, so education is key. Educating your employees on the dangers of injuries on the jobsite can reinforce the importance of following safety procedures. Your workplace should follow both OSHA and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI.org). Motivate your employees to always follow the guidelines through training and incentives whenever possible, this can save your business profits in the long run by avoiding costly accidents or injuries. Workplace management needs to:
- Know OSHA and ANSI workplace guidelines for eye and face protection
- Properly train employees on safety protocol
- Enforce use of protective eyewear wherever needed
- Know the signs of eye injury
- Respond to workplace injuries immediately with medical attention
Know the signs of Eye Injury
Even a seemingly minor injury left untreated could result in vision loss or even total blindness. This is why it is so important for both employees and employers to know the signs of eye injury and to seek immediate medical attention at an emergency room as soon as possible when an injury occurs. Some of the signs of eye injury in the workplace include an employee:
- Experiencing eye pain or having trouble seeing
- A foreign object in the eye or eyelid which can’t be removed
- A cut or torn eyelid
- Unusual size or shape of the individuals pupil
- An eye which sticks out more than the other
- Visible blood present in the clear part of an eye
- An eye not moving as well as it typically does
When in doubt, get the eye checked out! Eye injuries are not something to ignore or mess with. As the saying goes, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone,” don’t let this apply to your sight. By following these workplace guidelines, adhering to regulations from health experts and administrations, workplace injuries to the eyes can be avoided. Protect your sight at all costs!