Eye Protection – Why Employees should wear safety goggles/glasses
Updated: Jul 7, 2020
How terrified are you when you think of the possibility of loosing your sense of vision? Maybe as much as most persons who fear vision loss more than cancer.
The dread of vision loss gets worse when you realize that about 2000 workers are treated for work related eye injuries in the United State of America alone. This is not an annual or monthly record. It is a daily average according to a publication of the National Eye Institute.
The good news however, is that about 90 percent of these injuries are preventable. It is within our control if we do the right things in the work place. We obviously have not be doing our best as employers and employees but 2020 can be the new beginning. After all, 2020 is the year of the eye!
Work place safety goes beyond protecting yourself from slips, trips and falls, from electrocution and wet frozen feet with those rugged Work Boots. Your eyes need special protection and care at work.
Safety eyewear such as safety glasses, goggles, face shields, and welding helmets protect your eyes from flying fragments, large chips, hot sparks, optical radiation, splashes from molten metals, objects, glare, dust particles and flying insects.
WHEN TO USE EYE PROTECTION
Two reasons for eye injury at work are:
1. Non use of eye protection
2. Use of the wrong eye protection .
You should wear eye protection if you work in an environment that exposes you to any of or a combination of the following hazards:
1. Corrosive gases
2. Hot liquids
3. Chemical sprays
4. metal, dust and other particles;
5. laser light and ultraviolet light
6. Electronic screens especially in poorly lighted work rooms
7. Flying insects
Where these occur in combination, we recommended wearing an eye protection that keeps you safe from the highest level of each hazard present. For workers with existing eye conditions, you need to remember that your prescription glasses are not a replacement for proper eye protection wear. Choose your eye protection equipment such that neither your safety nor you vision is compromised.
TYPES OF EYE PROTECTION
There are different types of equipment that provide eye protection at work. The choice of one over the other is dependent on the nature of hazard and the degree of exposure.
They are fit for different environments and provide varying degrees of protection.
1. Safety Eye Glasses
Eye glasses can be prescription or non prescription. Your regular prescription eye glasses may look like safety glasses but they differ significantly in their material design and use.
Safety glasses are designed to provide significantly more protection for your eyes. Their frames and lenses are designed to meet the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) regulatory requirements for impact resistance.
Their edges however, have some openings around them that makes safety eye glasses unsuitable for work environments where tiny micro particles, liquid, gases constitute a hazard to the eye. In such environments, safety goggle offer better protection than glasses.
2. Safety Goggles
Safety goggles have high impact-resistance and form a secure shield around the entire eye. This design makes Safety Goggles a good protection against hazards from all directions. They leave no opening around the eye hence providing a 360 degrees protection for the eyes. The strap that holds your safety goggle around your head is a mitigation against accidental fall off of your eye protection in the line of duty. They can be worn in combination with eye lenses and prescription glasses.
Types of safety goggles:
Safety googles can be vented or non-vented.
a. Vented Safety Goggles
These have openings in them to allow for some breath through . This helps control mist formation on the inside of the glass and helps with maintaining a clear vision at work. This design however, makes vented googles a poor choice in environments with vapor and gaseous eye hazards. The conventional vented goggles for instance, is not fit for laboratory use.
b. Non-vented Safety Goggles which do not have any vents for air. They get misty on the inside of the glass during use but provide protection for the eyes against vapors, acid fumes and other gaseous hazards. They are recommended in work places that require total covering of the eyes.
3. Face Shield: For excellent eye protection, face shields are used in combination with goggles. This is because, they have opening through which articles and vapor could make their way to the eyes. They are designed to provide general protection to the face and are useful outdoors for security officers and workers in the welding and molten metal industries.
5. Special protection. Depending on the nature of rays and radiation exposure in the work place, special goggles, glasses or face shield can be adopted to ensure eye safety. There maybe a need for use of tinted goggles or glasses or a good combination of either of these with safety helmets. The combination of these glass layers should protect the eyes from radiations and ultraviolet rays.
Regardless of the option you choose based on your work requirements , remember to choose the best fit for you face and eyes. Like Work Boots your safety eyewear should fit well if you desire comfort in them.
HOW TO REDUCE EYE INJURY AT WORK
As the old wise saying goes "prevention is better than cure’’. You don’t want to expose your eyes to hazards. Ensuring eye protection in the work place should be a part of the design of each operation and factored into the construction of the work space. Involving a safety engineer at the design stage of every operation helps identify possible hazards and put measures in place to mitigate against eye injury.
The following are essential to reducing the chance of an eye injury at work:
1. Engage a Safety Engineer to assess the potential eye hazards associated with your planned operation
2. Eliminate or put mitigation in place against identified hazards before commencing work
3. Use proper tags to identify danger zones in your work place and areas where eye protection are a must
4. Use proper eye protection for the job
5. Carry out routine maintenance on your eye protection equipment
6. Replaces worn out eye protection with new one
7. Make safety at work a culture.
IMPACT OF VISION LOSS
The consequences of vision loss goes beyond an inability to see the beauty faces of loved ones and the world in general. In addition to affecting the individual directly, loss of vision redefines the life of those that become responsible for taking care of the visually impaired.
It takes away ones independence and hampers movement in addition to great economic implications. Sufferers of vision loss are in most cases unable to continue with their normal work life. This affects their ability to provide for themselves and their families.
While some individuals are able to adapt to the new reality of lost vision, others find it more challenging with a risk of depression and anxiety.
In summary, vision loss leads to the following:
1. Loss of independence and well-being.
2. Depression and anxiety and
3. Mobility impairment and loss of social connections.
4. Limits access to information
5. Increased risk of trips, slips and falls
FIRST AID RESPONSES TO EYE INJURIES
How should you respond if something goes wrong at work and your eye safety is compromised?
The following first aid treatment can be helpful before you are able to get proper medical attention .
First Aid response to particles in the eye
If some particle find their way into your eye at work, doing the following can remedy the situation before seeking proper medical care.
1. Avoid rubbing the eye
2. Attempt moving your eyelids to see if the particle come off
3. Attempt flushing out the particle with clean water
4. If these do not help, keep the eye closed and seek medical attention.
First aid response to chemical in the eye
1. Remove any contact lenses and glasses
2. Locate a source of clean flowing water and flush the eye continuously for a couple of minutes .
3. Do not try to neutralize the chemical with other substances. The reaction may lead to production of heat and other compounds that may worsen your situation
4. Seek immediate medical help.
First aid response for cuts and punctures
1. Never attempt to forcefully pull out any stuck object
2. Do not flush the eye with water
3. Cover the eye
4. Seek immediate medical attention.
Why you should wear eye protection at work
People often ask ''Why should I wear eye protection at work?'' It is obvious from the statistics we have seen, that eye injury does happen in the work place and up to 90 percent of these injuries are preventable by using the right eye protection for your work environment and conditions.
We summarize the reasons for wearing eye protection at work as follows:
1. Eye protection protection your eyes from dangerous chemicals and fumes. Your work place may expose you to chemicals and fumes that can irritate your eyes and lead to vision loss in some cases. The use of proper eye protection in such places protects your eyes from these substance and ensures you are safe.
2. Eye protection keeps foreign particles away from your eyes.
Imagine working in a dusty environment without eye protection. A lot of particles find their way into your eyes and can lead to negative consequences. If you are allergic to dust of pollen grain, keeping them away from your eyes with proper eye protection should be a priority. This way you avoid irritation, redness of eyes and long lasting sight damage Construction workers, cement factory workers and mining workers are often exposed to these hazards .
3. Protection from Ultra-violet rays for outdoor workers. If you work long hours outdoor, your eye protection keeps your eyes safe from the impact of UV rays. This is particularly important in sunny weathers such as summers. Exposure to these rays for a prolonged time period can damage your eye tissues and affect your vision.
4. Eye protection keeps you from Computer Vision Syndrome. People often think of eye protection for the outdoor, factory and construction workers but hardly think about eye protection for the office worker that sits 8 to 9 hours a day working with computers. the truth is your continued staring at computer screens especially in poorly lighted offices have adverse effects on your eyes and vision.
Computer Vision Syndrome arises from long term viewing of computer screens especially under poor lighting conditions.
The right use of safety glasses with coated lenses helps protect you from this hazard and keep you from straining your eyes and blurred vision. It may not affect you immediately, but your prolonged viewing of computer screens without eye protection is definitely having an impact on your eye health.
The 20-20-20 rule can help you if your job requires long hours of gazing at computer screens. This rule was popularized by Dr. Jeff Anshell, a specialist in “vision ergonomics” and entails looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds after every 20 minutes of looking at your computer screen. Further reading on this topic is available on Just stand dot org
5. Saves money and reduces loss of productivity. Wearing the right eye protection helps you and your organization reduce expenditure on eye injury treatments and reduces the number of times a worker is unable to report to work because of an eye injury. Workers continue to show up to work when they are healthy and are more confident to work when they know they are properly protected. These have positive impacts on the productivity of your workers and hence your organization.
6. It is a regulatory requirement and improves your company's reputation. OSHA requires wearing eye protection in work places with exposure to eye hazards. Complying with regulatory standards is one way of boosting the image of your company and your reputation with your staff. A good safety record also attracts great talents to your team.
Use of eye protection equipment is a regulatory requirement in work places that expose the eyes to hazards. By wearing eye protection equipment you not only protect your eyes but also protecting yourself from all the negative impacts of vision loss.
understanding the hazards associated with your work environment is essential to making the right choice of eye protection. Remember that 2000 persons are treated for work related eye injures per day in the USA. Get the best fit for you and stay comfortable at work.
For other PPEs such as Work Boots, check out the review section of this site.
We look forward to your comments and and questions.
41 views0 comments