Most safety professionals agree that workplace eye injuries are preventable. Yet, OSHA estimates that 1,000 eye injuries occur every day in the U.S. OSHA lists two major reasons for eye injuries at work: not wearing eye protection or wearing the wrong kind of protection for the job. So, how much eye protection is enough? The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health provides a starting point.
A proper assessment of workplace hazards is critical to choosing the proper eye wear. Most workplace hazards fall into one of the following categories: Particles, Chemicals, Impact, Gases, Light, Thermal, and Pathogens.
Once the proper eye protection has been selected, the last step is to ensure that they fit properly. safety glasses have a three-point fit, meaning the frame should touch the face in three places - at the nose bridge and behind each ear. Temples should wrap around the head, with slight pressure behind the ear, not above the ear.
Once the potential hazards are identified the next step is to select the proper type of eye protection. Safety glasses provide minimum protection and are for general working conditions, while Goggles provide higher impact, dust and chemical splash protection. Other types such as Hybrid glasses / goggles, and face shields, may also be necessary.
Protective eyewear works best when employees know how to use it properly. Employers should ensure proper training for employees. Combined with machine guards, screened or divided work stations, and other engineering controls, using the correct protective eyewear can help keep workers safe from any type of eye hazard.
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