Every day in the U.S. approximately 2,000 employees suffer an eye injury that is serious enough to rush to an ophthalmologist. While most of these eye injuries involve small flying particles that abrade the eye, some are severe and result in total blindness. However, eye injuries can be easily avoided by wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.
Here are 8 simple things every employer can do to protect their employee’s vision at work:
- Identify the hazards and take precautionary measures
Carefully inspect plant operations including hazardous work areas, heavy equipment, power machinery and access routes that pose the risk of eye injuries. Eye injuries can also be caused by chemical exposure, optical radiation, heat, and flying particles so for preventing eye injury, it is important to conduct an assessment that helps identify and alleviate safety hazards.
- Ensure your employees wear appropriate eye protection gear
Always ensure that your employees are wearing appropriate eye wear like safety goggles, face shields, full-facepiece respirators and helmets at all times. Protective eyewear is designed to comply with the regulations of OSHA to avoid specific eye dangers like high impacts, excess heat, smoke, dust and chemicals.
- Organize training programs and plan for emergency
It is important to train employees who are required to use personal protective equipment at work. Trainings can be used for educating employees on eye injury statistics and demonstrating the right ways to use eye safety gear. Employees should also be provided comprehensive guidelines on preventing eye injury and trained on carrying out basic first-aid treatment for eye injury in the event of an emergency.
- Inspect and eliminate inefficient eye gear
All eye safety supplies must be inspected on a regular basis for signs of wear and tear because loose, twisted, and sweat soaked headbands are unable to hold eye gear in its proper position. Scratched eyewear with loose frames or eyewear that fits poorly also needs to be replaced immediately because it reduces the worker’s ability to perform the job and also increases the risk of eye injury.
- Place eye safety signage for preventing eye injury
Safety signage not only helps ensure PPE compliance but also works as a reminder for employees working in specific hazards. Placing visual reminders in the form of posters, text and signs in common areas and near machinery or chemicals, consistently warns workers and helps in preventing eye injury.
- Install emergency eye wash stations
Placing easily accessible eye wash stations in areas where chemicals are used will help workers flush their eyes and relieve irritation immediately. First aid cabinets should always be stocked with eye drops, gauze and eye wash. First-aid procedures should be set up for handling eye injuries and all the workers should be trained in basic first-aid.
- Implement smart eye safety practices
Put your eye safety program in writing and display copies of the policy in the gathering areas. This program should include the following points:
- Always brush off the dust and debris after removing eye safety gear.
- Avoid rubbing eyes with dirty hands or clothes.
- Clean eyewear before and after use.
Review and update your eye safety practices regularly and prevent eye injuries at workplace.
- Schedule eye exam by an eye doctor
Since healthy vision has a big impact on employee’s overall health, work efficiency and quality of life, scheduling an eye exam periodically for workers is becoming a way for employers to enhance the well-being of their employees. Also, it is recommended to undergo an eye exam at least once every year, so by scheduling an eye exam by an ophthalmologist, employers can demonstrate their desire to promote the wellness of their workforce.
Learn more at: http://www.blog4safety.com/2016/05/10396/