Here’s a stat that may shock you – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each day, around 2,000 U.S. workers receive an eye injury that requires medical treatment. With March being Workplace Eye Wellness Month, we thought it would be the perfect time to bring awareness to common eye injury hazards at the workplace and how you can reduce your chances of sustaining an eye injury.
What are common workplace eye hazards?
- Projectiles, such as wood, metal, and other particles that can scratch the eye.
- Radiation from visible light, ultraviolet radiation, infrared or heat radiation, and lasers.
- Chemical splashes and fumes.
- Bloodborne pathogens from blood and other bodily fluids.
- Computer Vision Syndrome from prolonged computer use.
How to Prevent Workplace Eye Injuries
- Know Your Safety Hazards and Plan Accordingly
First and foremost, you should know and understand the eye safety dangers of your occupation. Occupations that have a high risk for eye injuries include construction, auto repair, welding, plumbing, mining, manufacturing, carpentry, maintenance, and electrical work. Proper measures should then be put in place to prevent injuries, such as machine guards, work screens or other necessary controls.
- Wear the Right Eye Protection
Usually, workplace eye injuries happen for two main reasons: not wearing proper eye protection or wearing the wrong kind of eye protection. So, what’s the right eye protection? It all depends on the activity. Types of eye protection include:
Prescription and Nonprescription Safety Glasses. Safety glasses provide eye protection for general work conditions where there may be flying particles. Safety glasses may look like normal everyday eyewear, but they’re designed with stronger lenses and frames to provide significantly more eye protection. Safety glasses must meet the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Look for the Z87 mark on the lens or frame.
Goggles. Goggles provide the same impact-resistant protection that safety glasses do, but with an added secure shield that protects against hazards that could come from any direction.
Face Shields and Helmets. Face shields are ideal for workers that are exposed to chemicals or blood-borne pathogens, while helmets are used while welding and working with molten materials. Face shields and helmets should not be the only source of protective eyewear; face shields and helmets should be used in addition to safety glasses or goggles so that the eyes are protected even when the shield or helmet is lifted.
Tip: In order to provide adequate protection, safety glasses must fit properly. They should also be properly maintained to prevent scratches and dirt that can reduce vision, cause glare, and contribute to accidents.
- Avoid Digital Eye Strain
If your 9 to 5 involves spending most of your day in front of a computer or tablet screen, Digital Eye Strain can become a concern. Symptoms of digital eye strain include dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches.
In order to guard against Digital Eye Strain, it is recommended to follow the “20-20-20” rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at an object 20 feet away.
Check out our blog for more tips on maintaining your eye health!