The September 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics news release shows that nearly 50,000 jobs were added in construction, manufacturing, and mining since July. This is important because these three industries account for about 40 percent of all eye injuries in the workplace. Eye injuries cost an estimated $300 million a year in lost productivity, medical treatment, and workers’ compensation. Even a seemingly minor eye injury can cause long-term vision problems and suffering, such as recurrent and painful corneal erosion from a simple scratch from sawdust, cement, or drywall. The good news is that about 90 percent of workplace eye injuries are entirely preventable! Following some basic safety guidelines can prevent injuries from simple strain to severe trauma. Consider using this topic information for Fives Minutes for Safety. What is Five Minutes for Safety?
Eye protection is one of the easiest and least expensive OSHA safety requirements to implement; yet each year thousands of workers injure their eyes or lose their sight. This is not because they didn’t have the proper eye protection, but because they chose not to wear it. Expressing the importance of eye safety to your team is critical. Remind them that minor injuries can cause long-term problems and it’s imperative to be proactive in preventing accidents.
Share with your team these important facts about eye safety in the workplace.
1. If proper protection is not taken, mild to serious eye injury can occur when dealing with these main eye hazards:
- Injurious gases, vapors, and liquids
- Dusts or powders, fumes, and mists
- Flying particles or objects
- Splashing metals
- Heat, glare, and ultraviolet and infrared rays
- Electrical hazards
2. It’s important that proper eye protection is used when appropriate and that it is:
- Adequate for the environment
- Reasonably comfortable
- Snug without interfering with the movements of the wearer
- Capable of being disinfected and cleaned
- Appropriate for your vision needs; this includes using goggles that provide optical correction or can be worn over corrective lenses
- Appropriate for the job you are performing, for example, for protection against radiant energy select the appropriate shade number for the filter lenses or plates used in welding
Training tips for this topic:
- Review the requirements for eye protection.
- Show the types of eye protection and how to properly wear and care for them.
- Review the location of eyewash stations and explain their use.
Want more information? Check these areas of the OSHA handbook to learn more.
29 CFR 1910.133—Eye and face protection.
ANSI Z87.1-1989—Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection.
Did you know that OSHA requires (29 CFR 1910.132 – General requirements) that employers must provide training to any employee who must use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
Training should include:
• When PPE is necessary
• What PPE is necessary
• How to properly don, doff, adjust, and wear PPE
• The limitations of the PPE
• The proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of PPE