7 Things Employers Need to Know About Eye Safety
Workplace Wellness You've heard your parents say, "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye.” Beyond jungle gyms and basketball courts, this expression extends into the modern workplace.
Personal protective equipment such as safety glasses, goggles and face shields are vital to ensuring the safety of workers across industries. Here’s what employers need to know:
1. Prevention is pivotal
Even insignificant on-the-job injuries can lead to long-term vision issues. A simple scratch from sawdust or drywall can cause recurrent and painful corneal erosion. However, according to OSHA, an estimated 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented by protective eyewear.
2. Minor mistakes, major price
Nearly three out of five injured workers were not wearing protection at the time of the mishap or were wearing the inappropriate eye protection. Eye injuries alone cost more than $300 million annually in lost production time, compensation and medical expenses.
3. Small particles, big issues
Metal slivers, wood chips or other small particles cause most eye injuries, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 70 percent of eye injuries resulted from flying objects or sparks striking the eye. Injured workers reported that nearly three-fifths of the objects were smaller than a pinhead.
4. At-risk professions
Craft workers boast the highest rate of eye injuries, reports the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health. Plumbers, electricians and pipefitters round out the top five. Upon selecting the appropriate eye protection, employers must consider the nature and extent of the hazard, the circumstances of exposure and if any of the equipment interferes with employees’ personal vision needs.
5. Full-body protection
A BLS survey found that 94 percent of the injuries to workers wearing eye protection resulted from objects or chemicals going around or under the protective gear. Employers must ensure that eyewear is integrated with other personal protective equipment for head-to-toe safety. It also should be alterable so it can provide sufficient coverage for each individual.
6. Comfort has its benefits
Research has shown that when it comes to protective equipment compliance, comfort is key. Comfort enhancing features include vented frames, lenses with adjustable angles, cushioned brows, padded nose bridges and flexible temples.
7. Safety can be fashionable
Another way to encourage compliance is to opt for equipment with style features found in modern fashion, including bright colors, wraparound designs and mirrored lenses.