March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month! Reevaluate your Eye Safety Programs

by Annie Gerow on March 30, 2017

Nearly 1 million Americans have lost some of their sight from an eye related injury, according to Prevent Blindness America (PBA). Eye wellness is important and something we may take for granted until a preventable accident occurs.

In light of Workplace Eye Wellness Month, make it a priority to review safety procedures and raise awareness about the importance of eye safety.

The Importance of Eye Protection

The majority of work-related eye injuries are a result of flying or falling objects or sparks striking the eye.

Other common potential hazards include the following:

  • Fumes
  • Vapors
  • Chemical splashes
  • Extremely bright or hazardous light, such as from welding

Common Types of Eye Protection

A job hazard assessment should be performed prior to the start of a particular task to determine the type of eye protection required.

  • Safety glasses protect against low-to-moderate impacts and sparks from activities such as grinding and woodworking. Only use safety glasses with side shields.
  • Goggles form a protective seal around the eye area to better protect from hazardous chemical vapors, splashes, or dust or other small particles that may enter the eye. Make sure that your goggles include ventilation mechanisms to prevent fogging.
  • Face shields protect the entire face against flying particles, sparks, splashes, harmful mists, and other hazards.
  • Welding masks are specially designed to protect from radiant energy, sparks, and metal splatters from welding.

Proper Use

  • Always wear proper eye protection where required, even if danger to your eyes seems remote.
  • Before use, verify that your equipment is appropriate for the task.
  • Inspect eye protection prior to each use.
  • If you wear prescription eyewear, use eye protection that accommodates it. Prescription eyewear by itself is not a substitute for safety glasses or goggles.
  • When welding or cutting, always wear safety glasses or goggles underneath face shields or welding helmets.
  • When your work is complete, store eye protection properly and away from extreme temperatures or direct sunlight.

Those working in office settings are encouraged to follow the 20-20-20 rule to reduce the risk of digital eye strain: Take a 20-second break by looking at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes.

 

KPA offers online training courses on Eye and Face Protection, as well as toolbox talks, hazard assessment templates, posters, and other materials.

Annie GerowMarch is Workplace Eye Wellness Month! Reevaluate your Eye Safety Programs