Todd Jerome Jenkins, MS, CSP, SMS, CHST, STSC

Safety Aficionado & Ph.D. Student

Protecting your eyes and face

Protecting your eyes and face is essential when working in hazardous environments. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 2,000 U.S. workers suffer from job-related eye injuries requiring medical treatment daily. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 70% of eye injuries occur because of flying or falling objects, while 26% occur due to contact with harmful substances.

OSHA recommends wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent eye and face injuries. The most common types of PPE for protecting the eyes and face include safety glasses, goggles, face shields, and welding helmets.

When selecting PPE, it is essential to consider the hazards present in your work environment. For example, safety glasses are suitable for protecting against flying objects such as dust, chips, and debris, while goggles are recommended for protection against chemical splashes and other hazardous materials. Face shields provide full-face protection against larger flying objects and hazardous substances while welding helmets protect against welding arcs and UV radiation.

It is also essential to properly maintain and replace your PPE as needed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PPE should be inspected before each use and replaced if it is damaged or outdated. Additionally, people should regularly clean and disinfect their PPE to ensure its effectiveness.

Employers can take several measures to protect their people’s eyes and faces, including conducting hazard assessments, providing appropriate PPE, and providing training on using and maintaining PPE properly. Employers should also encourage workers to report any injuries or near misses related to eye and face hazards.

Protecting your eyes and face is crucial when working in hazardous environments. People can significantly reduce their risk of eye and face injuries by wearing appropriate PPE, properly maintaining and replacing PPE, and receiving training on using PPE correctly. Employers can also play a critical role in protecting their people by conducting hazard assessments, providing appropriate PPE, and providing training on using PPE safely and effectively.

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