Did you know that your workplace may pose a hazard to your eyes? More specifically, are you exposing your eyes to hazards by not properly protecting them? According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, about 2,000 Americans suffer from job-related eye injuries each year that require medical attention.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3 out of 5 people were not wearing eye protection when they got injured on the job because they did not know that they needed to wear eye protection. Examples of protective eyewear that should be worn on the job are goggles, face shields, safety glasses or full-face respirators (Source: American Optometric Association). There are two main reasons why eyes are vulnerable to injuries on the job:
- Employees do not wear eye protection at all
- Employees use the wrong type of eye protection for a job
Although most of us would consider our work environment “safe,” consider these potential eye hazards at your place of employment:
- Projectiles like wood, concrete, metal and dust
- Chemicals such as harmful splashes and fumes
- Radiation from visible light, ultraviolet light, infrared radiation and lasers
- Blood borne pathogens such as hepatitis or HIV which are transmitted through blood and body fluids
The workplace does not need to be a threat to your eyesight if you choose the correct eye protection that suits the job that you are doing. If you are working with chemicals, wear full goggles. If you are working in an area that has particles, flying objects or dust, wear safety glasses with side protection. When working near radiation or doing work with welding, lasers or fiber optics, use goggles, face shields or helmets specifically designed to protect then entire eye.
Sadly, over 90 percent of eye injuries could be prevented by using proper eye protection. It is important to know the eye safety dangers at your work so you can eliminate the hazards in your work area. When you are exposing your eyes to hazards, make sure that your eye protection is the correct type and is in good condition. Finally, replace your eye protection when it becomes damaged. When safety goggles become scratched or dirty, they can cause glare, obstruct vision and create accidents. Following these guidelines will make every day a safe day on the job!