Eye Protection and Eye Safety at Work
Safety hazards are commonplace throughout a wide range of professions and workplaces. Depending on the type of work being done, it is important to take the necessary precautions to avoid any potential injuries. One common group of hazards that can occur in many workplaces are those that result in eye injuries.
Common eye injuries can range from minor irritations to more serious conditions including vision loss, punctures, corneal abrasions, damage to the lens, or even blindness. To protect workers, it is important for employers to provide employees with the proper eye protection gear. This may include safety glasses, goggles, or face shields.
Employees should also be aware of the potential hazards in their work environment and know how to properly use their eye protection gear. Wearing eye protection while working can help prevent serious injuries and ensure that workers are able to continue doing their job without any vision problems.
What is the main purpose of wearing eye protection at work?
First and foremost, eye protection is worn to reduce the risk of eye injury. Where you work in an environment where eye protection may be needed, health and safety legislation mandates that eye protection must be worn. Employers are tasked with providing adequate protection to their workers. In the interest of your own wellbeing, in such an environment you should pay attention to your working environment and always wear eye protection.
Potential Eye Hazards and Eye Injuries at Work
There are many potential eye hazards in the workplace. Here are some of the most common:
- Chemicals and vapours. Many chemicals and vapours can cause irritation or even burns to the eyes. Always wear protective eyewear when working with any type of chemical to protect yourself from chemical splashes and similar hazards. Otherwise first aid procedures like flushing the eye for at least 15 minutes becomes necessary to stop irritation and reduce the risk of injury.
- Flying particles and debris. Whether it’s dust, wood chips, or metal shavings, anything that can fly through the air has the potential to cause serious eye damage. Safety goggles are often the best choice when working a job that involves airborne particles.
- Laser beams. Even low-powered laser beams can cause permanent damage to the retina if they enter the eye directly. For instance, consistent exposure to infrared radiation and light is linked to the development of cataracts forming on the lens. If you work with lasers, be sure to wear proper eye protection at all times.
- Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Outdoor work, and some indoor work, will have you in constant exposure to the sun and its hazardous radiation. While many of you are likely aware of the impact of UV radiation on the skin and the importance of seeking shade and covering your skin with clothing and or sunscreen, UV radiation also negatively impacts eye health. UV is linked to the development of cataracts, eye degeneration, growths, and cancer in the eye. The sun isn’t the only source of UV, a common workplace source is from welding. When you weld, the resulting welding arc is not only too bright to safely look at without the right eye protection, but it also releases ultraviolet rays.
When should you use eye protection?
If your workplace involves airborne particles or hazardous substances like those situations listed above, it is important that you take proper prevention measures by wearing suitable eye protection.
Types of Eye Protection and Safety Gear
There are three primary forms of protective equipment for the eyes, though it might be more fair to label them eye and face protection. Safety glasses are the most popular form of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the eyes. Second to glasses, you have safety goggles and face shields to choose from.
Safety glasses provide protection from airborne particles and hazardous substances and are the most common type of safety eyewear. They are designed to fit properly and snugly around the eyes and provide a barrier between the eyes and potential hazards. Safety glasses are often made of polycarbonate or other similar materials, can be clear or tinted, and can have special coatings to help protect against ultraviolet (UV) light or glare. Many safety glasses have side shields that provide additional side protection.
Often safety goggles are a better type of eye protection than glasses. For one, safety goggles create a seal around your eyes, which glasses don’t. This seal helps to keep out dust and other particles that could potentially damage your eyes. Secondly, goggles are commonly sturdier and made of stronger material than glasses, so they’re more likely to withstand impact in the event of an accident. Lastly, safety goggles can be worn over prescription glasses if necessary, which allows many workers to forgo the need for contact lenses without compromising on their vision.
Face shields protect your eyes from debris, dust, and other particles. They can also help prevent eye injuries from flying objects or chemicals. Face shields differ from goggles and glasses in that they do not fit to the eyes, ears, and around the nose. Rather, they sit atop the head and have a shield that comes down to cover the face. Many of them feature bands made from elastic or another material that go around your head in order to keep them in place, while others just use foam strips or headbands. Face shields are commonly used when working with molten materials and other substances that might be sprayed or splashed in the eye. Though it is important to note that face shields do not replace the need for other eye protection, but that they should be used in tandem with safety glasses to ensure that the wearer has adequate protection when lifting their shield.
Shop Eye protection
At DD Group, people matter to us. So, if you have any questions about eye safety and the relevant personal protection equipment, our team will be more than happy to help you. You can contact us by calling us at 1300 003 384 or by completing our contact us form here.
If you’d like to learn more about the safety glasses, safety goggles, and face shields available on the market, we’d like to invite you to view our complete range of eye protection here as well as our face protection here.