The common worksite poses all sorts of hazards to workers on a regular basis, but one of the most dangerous threats is directed at employees' vision. Small and large objects can fly off of an assembly line or splinter from a piece of wood in a second, leaving the person in its path defenseless.
These types of workplace tragedies can be avoided with the simple inclusion of vision personal protection equipment in the daily routine. Prevent Blindness America has dubbed March Workplace Eye Health and Safety month, and with some extra diligence, this avoidable threat can be wiped out.
Just how dangerous can a workplace be?
Each year, nearly 20,000 people experience workplace eye injuries, the American Academy of Ophthalmology reported. This results in over $300 million lost due to absent production, medical leave and compensation. The PBA estimated nearly 90 percent of these injuries are avoidable, but only if proper precautions are taken.
Employers should recognize dangerous situations on the job that require protective eyewear to prevent any unnecessary injuries. OSHA regulations require businesses to have eye protection at a job site in case a worker requests it, and all vision PPE should be certified by ANSI.
There are common materials and objects that repeatedly inflict injuries to workers and they should always be careful working with them:
- Dust particles
- Moving objects
Understanding what kind of dangers your work environment poses is the first step in providing protection to employees.
Eye injuries are preventable
Workplace accident prevention is simple – provide it to your employees. Nearly every injury to someone's vision could have been avoided by wearing PPE, but it needs to be provided first. On-the-job training and safety signs are just as valuable as PPE because they reinforce the dangers a worksite can pose, without you having to raise your voice or remind them.
Take advantage of all the information available to reinforce the importance of Workplace Eye Wellness Health and Safety month:
- Use safety signs to identify high-risk areas for eye injuries, and also where eye wash fountains can be accessed.
- Provide eye protection with side shields when employees are working with power tools or around constantly moving objects.
- Consult OSHA for the standards on eye protection for welding.
- Always wear special purpose goggles when working with radioactive or otherwise dangerous chemicals.
- If your field of work is in health care, janitorial or veterinary, consider purchasing PPE that will protect you from diseases that can be contracted through the eye.
You can never take too many steps in preventing eye health threats. They are constantly a danger and eye injuries don't heal the same as they do compared to other parts of the body. Improve the quality of life at the worksite by adhering to PPE requirements and making sure employees understand the threats each unique jobsite poses.