Know what the most common workplace hazards are to your employees’ eyes?

At the top of the list, flying objects … and in roughly half of these injuries, objects that tend to be smaller than the head of a pin.

Hazards vary depending on your industry, business, work environment and job responsibilities, and range from fragments, sand and dirt, for example; to wood, metal or plastic.

Up next, unsafe work processes contribute to the risk workers face as well.

Avoiding workplace eye hazards
  • Masonry work
  • Woodworking
  • Sanding
  • Machining ... just to name a few.

Hazardous Chemicals and Dust round out the top three.

Hazardous chemicals pose a major risk to employees, causing permanent damage such as blindness in one or both eyes if the right eye protection isn’t used.

Be sure employees know what kinds of chemicals they come in contact with. For instance, acids and corrosives can damage your eyes in a matter of seconds. Be on the lookout for splashes, sprays, mists and vapors.

Dust, too, can be a major irritant causing abrasions to the eye.

How Can You Protect Your Eyes?

  • Know the eye safety dangers of your job
  • Eliminate hazards before starting work by using things such as machine guards, work screens or other engineering controls
  • Use proper eye protection
  • Take care of your safety eyewear by keeping it in good condition and replacing it when it gets damaged
  • Select protective eyewear that is appropriate for the job you are doing

Eye Hazard Protective Equipment

Each type of hazard requires specific equipment to protect the eyes and face.

  • Safety glasses with side shields or wraparound-style glasses
  • Safety goggles
  • Chemical-resistant goggles
  • Face shields
  • Helmets
  • Special filters to protect the eyes from optical radiation exposure when welding or working with lasers
  • And more
avoiding workplace eye hazards_medical technician

Training on Workplace Eye Hazards

It is imperative that you train your employees in safety procedures, including the safe handling and disposal of protective equipment.

  • Check for things such as cracks or scratches before any equipment is used.
  • Make sure all equipment fits properly.
  • Safe handling and disposal of protective equipment.
  • Replacement procedures.

What kinds of workplace eye hazards do your employees face? Have you done an assessment lately?

This blog, originally posted September 25, 2012, has been updated with additional sources and information.

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