Weekly Safety Topic – Eye Protection

More than 10,000 people who work in the construction trade miss work each year due to eye injuries. An estimated 42 Americans suffer an eye injury every day. More eye injuries occur in the construction industry than in any other. It’s impossible to quantify the toll these accidents take on injured workers adequately. Some may lose their vision permanently. Many eye injuries can be prevented or reduced with proper eye protection.

Safety glasses protect flying objects, sand, and dust. When on a worksite, everyone should wear safety glasses at all times.

Safety goggles protect against flying objects, paint chips, or sand by surrounding the eye with a protective seal. Goggles provide better protection than safety glasses from objectives from above, below, or sides.

Chemical goggles can prevent splashing liquids from entering your eyes and provide impact protection.
Face shields protect your entire face from chemical splashes and flying objects. Safety glasses or goggles are often worn with face shields.

Eye protection only works if you wear it! You cannot protect your eyes by putting safety glasses in your pocket, on your hardhat, or hanging them around your neck.

Determine which hazards you will encounter during a particular task using your company’s Job Hazard Analysis. Wear protective eyewear designed for that specific task. Sometimes you may need to wear two types of eye protection.

Accidents can also be caused by uncorrected vision. See an eye doctor if you notice that you have to squint or strain to read. You should make sure your glasses conform to the ANSI Z87.1 standard. If your prescription changes, get new glasses and follow your employer’s rules regarding contact lenses.
Be prepared in case of eye injuries. Know where eyewash stations are located. For chemical burns, you should flush your eyes with water for at least 15 minutes. Your employer should provide first aid equipment. Seek medical attention if an object is embedded in your eye.