Increase productivity and safety with eye protection
Eye and vision related injuries cause roughly $300 million a year in lost productivity a year and every day approximately 2000 workers will suffer eye injuries on the job, which may result in one or more days away from work. Fortunately, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 90% of all eye injuries can be prevented by following appropriate safety measures. Providing the proper eye care for your staff can mean the difference between safety and an injury. Read these 4 eye care and protection tips to keep your workers safe.
1) Be aware workplace hazards
The first and most important step in the prevention of eye injuries in the workplace is to understand what specific hazards are present in the workplace. Understanding what can cause an injury allows for a more comprehensive plan for addressing any and all potential safety issues in the work environment. Some common eye hazards are:
- Dust, small particles or slivers (produced by materials like metal, wood, plastics or drywall)
- Large objects that may become airborne
- Hazardous chemicals
- Power tools
- Cement (in both wet and powdered forms)
These are in no way the only potential eye safety hazards in the workplace. A full evaluation of the workplace by a licensed health or safety professional is the best way to ensure that all potential hazards have been accounted for in the assessment.
2) Utilize Proper Protection
Using proper protection is an important step in maintaining a safe workplace and eye safety is no exception to this. Here are some of the many ways to ensure effective eye protection:
- Keep up to date on OSHA safety standards
- Ensure that eye protection is properly fitted and appropriate for the job
- Properly maintain equipment
- Review safety policies for workers with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses
3) Educate Employees
Employee education is paramount to ensuring that every worker understands the risks associated with the job and the preventative measures that should be taken to avoid injuries. All employees should be made aware of company policies as well as the reasons for those policies.
- Provide proper safety training for the expected work tasks
- Maintain and follow company safety procedures at the work site
- Keep everyone informed of federal and state safety standards and any changes
4) Teach First Aid
While preventing eye injuries one hundred percent of the time is the goal of every team member, accidents do happen and it is better to be prepared for that eventuality. First aid is very important in providing immediate care for any injury and preventing it from becoming worse.
- Train all team members in first aid procedures
- Have a designated first aid administrator on site
- Keep up-to-date first aid kits on hand
- First aid is not a replacement for seeking professional medical attention and any person who suffers a serious injury should be taken to medical facilities for more extensive treatment options.
While these tips cover eye injuries that can occur in manufacturing, chemical production or construction jobs, eye injuries can occur at office workstations. Office workers who spend a significant amount of time working on a computer or using screens at work should take these steps to prevent strain on their vision:
- Ensure that the computer is an appropriate distance away from your face
- Use black text on white backgrounds
- Take breaks from staring at the screen (follow the 20/20/20 rule – every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds)
- Use moisturizing or re-wetting eye drops if necessary
With appropriate eye care, injuries can be prevented more often and properly managed if they occur.
Written by Abraham Kluksdahl