Each day, according to the CDC, "about 2,000 U.S. workers sustain a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment.”
And about one-third of those injuries are treated in an emergency room with more than 100 resulting in one+ days away from work.
Eye injuries alone cost more than $300 million a year in lost production time, medical expenses and workers compensation.
Have you done a hazard assessment to determine the PPE needed? Are you aware of what the OSHA Requirements are for your industry? There are specific standards for General Industry 1910.133 ANSI, shipyard employment, long shoring and the construction industry.
The main reasons workers sustain eye injuries on the job are because
• they were not wearing eye protection
• they were wearing the wrong kind of protection for the job they were doing.
OSHA requires workers to use eye and face protection whenever there is a reasonable probability of injury that could be prevented by such equipment.
Personal protective eyewear, such as goggles, face shields and safety glasses, must be used when an eye hazard exists. The type of eye protection should be based on the job being done and be determined based on the type of hazard, the circumstances of exposure and other protective equipment being used. For instance:
- Safety glasses with side protection/side shields must be worn if you are working in an area that has particles, flying objects or dust
- Goggles must be worn if you are working with chemicals
- Special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields or helmets must be worn if you are working near hazardous radiation, such as welding, lasers or fiber optics
How do you train employees in your company about proper workplace eye protection and safety?
Tools you can use:
- OSHA’s Eye and Face Protection eTool
- Eye Safety Checklist
- Selecting PPE for the Workplace
- Case Study: Saddle Creek Corporation Provides Forklift and Golf Cart Drivers with Eye Protection
After reviewing the number of eye injuries experienced by its forklift and golf cart operators, a corporation implemented a formal eye protection program that resulted in eye injury incidents and related workers’ compensation costs dropping over the next 5 years.
In addition, employers can take the following steps:
• conduct an eye hazard assessment of the workplace
• remove or reduce eye hazards wherever possible
• provide appropriate safety eyewear and require employees to wearit
Words of advice from OSHA:
- Do not rely on personal protective equipment (PPE) devices alone to provide protection against hazards. Use PPE in conjunction with guards, engineering controls, and sound manufacturing practices
- Eye and face protection must be provided when necessary to protect against chemical, environmental, radiological or mechanical irritants or hazards.
This blog, originally posted March 14, 2013, has been updated with additional sources and information.