Never skimp on safety when it comes to protecting your eyes. October is Eye Injury Prevention Month, and Health & Safety Institute wants to provide you with some safety tips so you can be safe and avoid injuries that may damage your ability to see.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 2,000 workers suffer eye injuries on the job every day, not only robbing many of them of their sight, but also costing employers and insurance companies millions of dollars a year.
Prevention is the first and most important step in protecting your eyes from injuries – it is estimated that over 90% of eye injuries are preventable, so be sure to protect your eyes with appropriate protective eyewear, such as goggles, safety glasses, or face shields. An eye examination may be helpful in determining what type of protective eyewear is needed. According to the Detroit Medical Center (DMC), the leading causes of eye injury are sports accidents, fireworks, yard and workshop debris, and household chemicals. If you do experience an eye injury, seek medical attention promptly.
Here are some helpful tips for both inside and outside of the workplace to help prevent eye injuries:
In the house…When using household chemicals, read instructions and labels carefully, work in a well-ventilated area and make sure to point spray nozzles away from you. Many chemicals are extremely hazardous and can permanently destroy the surface of your eyes, resulting in blindness.
In the workshop…Think about the work you will be doing, such as welding, hammering nails or metal, working with power tools or chemicals, and wear protective eyewear to shield your eyes from flying fragments, fumes, dust particles, sparks, and splashing chemicals. Many objects can fly into your eyes unexpectedly and cause injury. Know how to flush chemicals out, and know the location of the nearest shower or sink.
In the garden…Put on protective eyewear before you use a lawnmower, power trimmer, or edger and be sure to check for rocks and stones because they can become dangerous projectiles as they shoot from these machines. Do not forget the risk to bystanders when using these machines.
In the workplace…The Occupational Safety & Health Administration, OSHA, has standards that require employers to provide their workers with the appropriate eye protection for your job, such as glasses, goggles, face-shields, or helmets. Many of the 2,000 employees who are injured each day probably didn’t think they needed eye protection or were wearing eyewear inappropriate for the job.
Around the car…Battery acid, sparks, and debris from damaged or improperly jump-started auto batteries can severely damage your eyes. Keep protective goggles in the trunk of your car to use for those emergencies and everyday repairs.
Playing sports...Wear protective eyewear during sports such as hockey, racquetball, or paintball that involve the risk of a blow to the eye. Baseball is the most common sport to cause eye injuries. Fishhook injuries are another common cause of eye injuries. Protective eye-wear can prevent sports-related eye injuries more than 90% of the time.
When outside… One of the greatest threats to your eyes is invisible. Studies show that exposure to bright sunlight may increase the risk of developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and growths on the eye, including cancer. When spending time outdoors, sunglasses that have 97-100% UV protection should be worn. Styles that wrap around to the temples prevent the sun’s rays from entering from the side.
Check out a few of our other blogs on eye safety: