Protective wear for eyesight

By Winnie Maina | Wednesday Jul 18, 2018

Experts believe that 90% of eye injuries could have been prevented with the correct eye protection measures in place.

The Eye is a very sensitive body part and an injury to it can cause lingering, permanent vision damage, which has the potential to disable a worker for life. No injury to the eye can be considered as minor cause it can lead to long-term problems and suffering, like recurrent and painful corneal erosion from a minimal scratch caused by sawdust, cement or drywall.

There are two Major reasons that cause Workers to experience eye injuries while at work

1. They were not wearing eye protection.

2. They were wearing the wrong kind of protection for the job.


According to OSHA 2007:

1. Every employer shall provide suitable goggles or effective screens to protect the eyes of person employed The Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2007 92 engaged in any of the processes specified in the Eighth Schedule. 

2.Every employer shall ensure that where in any workplace electric arc welding is carried on, effective provision is made, by screening or otherwise, to prevent employees, other than employees engaged in the welding process, being exposed to the electric arc flash.

When the following potential eye hazards are present at a work place then it is important to have Protective eye wear: 

Projectiles (dust, concrete, metal, wood and other particles)

Chemicals (splashes and fumes)

Radiation (especially visible light, ultraviolet radiation, heat or infrared radiation, and lasers)

Blood borne pathogens (hepatitis or HIV) from blood and body fluids


Occupations with a high risk for eye injuries include:

construction

manufacturing

mining

carpentry

auto repair

plumbing

welding

maintenance

electrical work

The Hazards at your work place will determine the type of safety eye protection you should wear:

If you are working in an area that has particles, flying objects or dust, you must at least wear safety glasses with side protection (side shields).

If you are working with chemicals, you must wear goggles.

If you are working near hazardous radiation (welding, lasers or fiber optics) you must use special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields or helmets designed for that task.


Know the requirements for your work environment. Side shields placed on your conventional (dress) glasses do not provide enough protection to meet the OSHA requirement for many work environments.


As an employer it is your responsibility to make sure the work place is utmost safe. Below are some of the measures that you can take.

Conducting an eye hazard assessment of the workplace

Removing or reducing eye hazards where possible

Providing appropriate safety eyewear and requiring employees to wear it


Employees can also play a role in safeguarding their eyes from injury by doing the following:

1. Know the eye safety dangers at your work.

2. Eliminate hazards before starting work by using machine guards, work screens or other engineering controls.

3. Use proper eye protection.

4. Keep your safety eyewear in good condition and have it replaced if it becomes damaged.


Selection of protective eyewear appropriate for a given task should be made based on a hazard assessment of each activity. Types of eye protection include:

Nonprescription and prescription safety glasses. Although safety glasses may look like normal dress eyewear, they are designed to provide significantly more eye protection. The lenses and frames are much stronger than regular eyeglasses. Safety glasses must meet standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Look for the Z87 mark on the lens or frame.


Safety glasses provide eye protection for general working conditions where there may be dust, chips or flying particles. Side shields and wraparound-style safety glasses can provide additional side protection. 


Safety lenses are available in plastic, polycarbonate and Trivex™ materials. While all four types must meet or exceed the minimum requirements for protecting your eyes, polycarbonate lenses provide the highest level of protection from impact. 

Goggles. Goggles provide protection from impact, dust and chemical splash. Like safety glasses, safety goggles are highly impact-resistant. In addition, they provide a secure shield around the entire eye and protect against hazards coming from any direction. Goggles can be worn over prescription glasses and contact lenses.

Face shields and helmets. Full face shields protect workers exposed to chemicals, heat or blood-borne pathogens. Helmets are used for welding or working with molten materials. Face shields and helmets should not be the only protective eyewear. They need to be used in conjunction with safety glasses or goggles, so the eyes are protected when the shield is lifted. 

Special protection. Helmets or goggles with special filters to protect the eyes from optical radiation exposure should be used for welding or working with lasers.


Safety glasses must fit properly to provide adequate protection. Also, eye protection devices must be properly maintained. Scratched and dirty devices reduce vision, because glare and may contribute to accidents.


Combined with machine guards, screened or divided work stations, and other engineering controls, using the correct protective eyewear can help keep you safe from any type of eye hazard.


Source: America Optometric Association


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