Sidebar: 10 tips for preventing eye injuries
1. Conduct a thorough analysis of plant operations. Inspect work areas, access routes and equipment. Examine eye incidents and injury reports. Identify operations and areas that present eye hazards.
2. Uncorrected vision problems contribute to incidents. Incorporate vision testing in your pre-placement and routine physical examinations of employees.
3. Select protective eyewear designed for a specific operation or hazard. Protective eyewear must meet the current standards referenced by the Occupational Safety and Health Act and subsequent revisions.
4. For maximum protection against eye injury, establish a 100-percent mandatory program that requires eye protection throughout all operations areas of your plant. Experience shows this kind of program prevents more injuries and is easier to enforce than one limited to certain departments, areas or jobs.
5. Workers cannot be expected to use their protective eyewear unless it fits properly and comfortably. To ensure the eyewear is satisfactory, have it fitted by an eye care professional or someone trained to do this. Provide the means for maintenance, and require each worker to be responsible for his or her own eyewear.
6. Establish first-aid procedures for eye injuries. Make eyewash stations accessible, particularly where chemicals are used. Train employees in basic first aid and identify those with more advanced first-aid training.
7. Conduct ongoing educational programs to establish, maintain and reinforce the need for protective eyewear. Add eye safety to your regular employee education/training programs and include it as a large part of new employee orientation.
8. Management support is a key ingredient. All management personnel should set an example by wearing protective eyewear whenever and wherever required.
9. Continually review and, when necessary, revise your prevention strategies. Aim for the elimination of all incidents and injuries.
10. When all elements of your safety program have been established, put them in writing. Display a copy of the policy in areas frequented by employees, and include a review of the policy in new employee orientation.
Reprinted with permission from Prevent Blindness America © 1999. For more info: (800) 331-2020; www.preventblindness.org