Factory Safety – Eye Protection 

Your vision is something that is easily taken for granted. But, once it’s damaged or lost, life can become difficult to manage. Yet roughly 2,000 workers each day receive treatment for eye injuries sustained on the job. This is a staggering number considering most of these injuries could be prevented if employers followed simple safety protocols and furnished workers with a safe working environment.

Common Workplace Eye Injuries

Accidents happen in the workplace every day in situations that workers have become comfortable working in. These tragedies can take place in an instant. And, in most cases, protective eyewear isn’t being worn.

Some of the typical reasons that employees aren’t wearing protection include that it isn’t provided, it doesn’t fit properly, or they are told it isn’t necessary. But not having this protection can lead to serious consequences.

The most common causes of workplace eye injuries include lacerations, punctures, and chemical burns. These injuries happen most frequently in the manufacturing, transportation, and service industries.

Types of Eye Risks

Your eyes are some of your body’s most vulnerable organs. You depend on them for your sight, yet they are only protected by a transparent, thin layer called the cornea. The cornea acts as a natural barrier against foreign particles and protects the lens and retina, which interpret images. This is an organ that is incredibly sensitive to various hazards you’re likely to encounter in a factory environment.

Impact and Dust

Your eyes are vulnerable to physical hazards such as objects that puncture or scratch the outer layer protecting the rest of the organ. This includes debris and dirt that may be in the air as well as tools or machinery.

Corneal abrasions are the most common type of eye injury, particularly in dusty workplaces. A minor scratch can heal in a few days. But severe abrasions or larger objects embedded in the eye could cause permanent damage.

Light and Heat

Your eyes are also sensitive to the radiation that comes from light and heat. An eye can sustain instant burns if it is exposed to high temperatures or bright light. This can happen from welding torches, sparks, fires, or furnaces. Even elevated levels of exposure to blue light from computer screens can damage the eye’s receptors and have an impact on a worker’s sleep and wellbeing.

Chemical Exposure

The soft tissue in the eye is also vulnerable to a variety of chemicals found in industrial workplaces. Strong cleaning agents and solvents, alkalis, and acids can temporarily or permanently damage a worker’s eyesight.

OSHA Regulations and Workplace Eye Protection

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) addresses eye and face protection in specific general industry standards as well as standards for maritime and construction industries.

According to CFR 1910.133, employers must ensure that all affected employees use appropriate face and eye protection when exposed to face or eye hazards from flying particles, liquid chemicals, molten metal, chemical gases or vapors, acids or caustic liquids, or potentially injurious light radiation.

When there are hazards from flying objects, the employer must ensure that there is eye protection with side protection included. In some cases, detachable side protectors are acceptable.

OSHA advises that personal protective equipment (PPE) alone should not be relied upon to protect workers against various workplace hazards. Instead, these should be combined with sound manufacturing processes, engineering controls, and guards.

According to the agency’s guidelines, employers should conduct thorough walk-through surveys to identify sources of eye injury hazards in the workplace. These would include from machinery, materials, falling objects, chemicals, and processes (like welding). After minimizing as many of the hazards as possible, workers should be provided with the appropriate PPE.

Steps to Prevent Eye Injuries in a Factory Environment

OSHA requires that employers provide a safe and healthful workplace that is free from serious recognized hazards. Some of the steps your industrial facility can take to prevent eye injuries include:

  1. Continually assess the workplace for safety hazards.
  2. Provide workers with well-fitting eye protection that is appropriate to the task.
  3. Require face shields for hazardous work.
  4. Install signage to enforce workplace eye protection rules.
  5. Install eyewash stations in appropriate areas.
  6. Train workers on eye protection safety and emergency response procedures.

What If You’ve Suffered an Eye Injury at Work?

If you’ve suffered a serious eye injury at work, it’s important to understand that your employer has an obligation to provide you with a safe work environment. Appropriate eye protection should be available to factory workers as well as training on its use and hazard avoidance. To learn more about protecting yourself from workplace eye injuries, contact OSHA Injury Attorney directly.

OSHA Standards for Fall Protection

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates many areas of the workplace because of the various hazards that exist, threatening the health and safety of workers and innocent bystanders. One area that receives strict regulation by the agency is fall protection. OSHA requires employers, contractors, subcontractors, and premises owners to adhere to specific safety measures at various heights depending on the industry and circumstances.

Why Fall Protection is Heavily Regulated by OSHA

After traffic crashes, falls are the leading cause of unintentional deaths worldwide, resulting in roughly 684,000 lost lives annually. In the U.S. alone, falls are number one among OSHA’s “Fatal Four” leading causes of fatalities in the workplace, accounting for roughly 36% of workplace deaths each year.

Even though workplace accidents and deaths have declined over the years, workers are still injured or lose their lives due to serious hazards. Fall accidents take place due to unprotected holes or sides, improperly constructed surfaces, and workers who have fallen off of scaffoldings, ladders, roofs, and other heights. OSHA fall protection requirements would safeguard against many of these accidents.

OSHA Standards for Fall Protection

OSHA has established general fall safety standards that apply to all industries and employers. The industry has also created a separate set of standards that apply to the construction and maritime industries. The rules are incredibly specific. The general requirements for fall safety include:

  • Railings must be placed around ladder ways and stairways.
  • Chute openings or hatchways must either be sealed by a hinged cover or have a removable railing system.
  • Working platforms must have proper fall safety protection measures and be safely accessible.
  • If a fall arrest system is used, it must be installed by qualified personnel and only used by employees who have been properly trained in its use.
  • Staging must meet OSHA guidelines.
  • Safety nets must meet OSHA guidelines.

What is Considered a “Height” According to OSHA?

The definition of a height by OSHA varies according to your industry. In a general workplace industry, fall safety standards must be in place for heights over 4 feet. In maritime industries, they must be in place for heights over 5 feet. And, in construction industries, there is a “6-foot rule.”

What is a Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS)?

A Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS) refers to a system used to stop (arrest) an employee’s fall from a working or walking surface. It consists of a body harness, anchor, and connector. Anchors can be temporary or permanent, but temporary anchors should only be used in areas where workers don’t travel often. Other rules for anchors include:

  • Anchors should be capable of supporting at least 5,000 lbs. per employee attached or be designed, used, and installed according to OSHA regulations;
  • Anchors must be independent of any systems used to support platforms; and
  • Anchors must be used under the supervision and direction of a qualified person.

OSHA rules that apply to connectors and PFAS system include:

  • Connectors must be made of pressed, formed, or drop forged steel or materials of equivalent strength;
  • A PFAS system must limit the distance an employee travels to 3.5 feet and bring them to a complete stop;
  • A PFAS system should not make contact with the employee’s chin or neck area; and
  • A PFAS system must have a limited maximum arresting force on the worker of 1,800 lbs.

Fall Protection in the Construction Industry

It’s not surprising that falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. OSHA has developed a specific set of fall protection standards that apply to this industry. OSHA’s Construction Fall Protection Standard 29 CFR 1926 Subpart M provides a list of ways that employers and contractors can protect workers from hazards. Four common areas where construction work is most dangerous include:

  • Unprotected edges and sides – When heights are six feet or greater, OSHA asks that employers implement a guardrail system, safety nets, and personal fall arrest systems.
  • Holes – Another common hazard, OSHA asks employers to install a cover over the hole, erect a guardrail around it, and/or use a personal fall arrest system.
  • Roof work – One of the most common hazards on construction job sites, OSHA recommends using a combination of warning lines, safety monitoring systems, guardrails, safety nets, and personal fall arrest systems.
  • Overhand bricklaying and related work – Depending on the circumstances (heights), employers can implement guardrail systems, safety nets, controlled access zones, and personal fall arrest systems.

Learn More About Protecting Yourself from Falls in the Workplace

Whether you work in construction, as a power lineman, or in some other industry, your employer has an obligation to provide a safe workplace that protects you from being injured in a fall. Having appropriate fall protection and training on the use of safety measures is a vital part of workplace preparedness and effective safety management. To learn more about protecting yourself from falls in the workplace, contact OSHA Injury Attorney directly.

How Important Is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) On a Construction Worksite?

Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, has received a lot of attention in the news over the past year and a half as a result of the coronavirus and the urge to reduce the spread of the infection. The increased demand for PPE in various industries has led many to think about the necessity of PPE in their own workplaces. While protective gear has always been necessary for the construction industry, the pandemic has heightened awareness about the importance of construction workers protecting themselves. Here’s an overview of the basics of Personal Protective Equipment and how important it is on a construction worksite.

What Is PPE?

PPE is equipment that protects against certain workplace hazards, ranging from falling objects to viral transmission. It is important to understand that PPE includes more than just masks which are intended to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus; PPE in construction refers to a range of different gear. PPE should be thought of as a necessary protection for any worker on a construction site, not merely an accessory. 

Common Types of Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment varies by industry. During the start of the pandemic, masks in the healthcare industry received a lot of attention. In the construction industry, common types of PPE include:

  • Hearing protection. Construction workers are often exposed to loud noises that can contribute to occupational hearing loss. The best way to prevent hearing loss is to ensure that all workers are equipped with appropriate hearing protection PPE. This is especially important for workers who are working with loud machines and equipment, or who are on demolition sites where explosions are common.
  • Head protection. One of the most important types of PPE is a hard hat, which provides protection from falling objects. Head injuries can occur when a construction worker is struck in the head with an object, or if they fall and hit their head. Certain hard hats can also reduce exposure to high-voltage conductors, and therefore should be used anytime there’s a risk of an electrical hazard.
  • Eye and face protection. Falling objects, flames, dust, debris, shards of metal, bright light, and small objects (like nails and screws) all pose a risk to a construction worker’s eyes and face. Wearing eye and face protection when on a construction site, especially when engaging in certain activities—such as welding or working in an area with harmful chemicals—is critical. Eye injuries can be devastating but, fortunately, are almost always preventable with the right gear.
  • Foot protection. All workers on a construction site should always wear appropriate work boots that provide protection from punctures and heat, and that provide slip protection. Waterproof boots are also strongly recommended in many cases. 
  • Skin/body protection. Construction workers are often working outside, exposed to the elements, for hours at a time. While working in the sun may seem enjoyable on a nice day, the reality is that repeated exposure to sun, heat, and other hazards, such as chemicals, can lead to serious illness and disease. Construction workers are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer, a disease that can be prevented by proper skin/body PPE. 
  • Lung/respiratory protection. Breathing in chemicals, dust, and small particulates on a job site for hours a day, every day, can lead to serious respiratory complications and even cancers and other occupational illnesses in some cases. Wearing an appropriate mask or using another type of respiratory protective equipment is absolutely necessary for construction workers.


Of course, in addition to the above, construction workers should follow CDC and state guidelines regarding the use of masks to reduce the spread of coronavirus. You can read more about OSHA standards for PPE for workers in the construction industry here. 

Why Is PPE So Important In the Construction Industry?

Construction workers are at an increased risk of injury based on their occupation; workers in this industry suffer an increased risk of fatal injuries compared to workers in other jobs. Working outdoors, using power tools, working at heights, working with dangerous chemicals or substances, and working with large equipment and machinery can be extremely dangerous. Workers can reduce their risk of injury and occupational illness simply by using PPE appropriately. Managers should make sure that construction workers are trained on the proper use of PPE and that all workers on a site have access to appropriate PPE. 

Learn More About The Importance of PPE for Construction Workers Today

If you are a construction industry worker who has more questions about Personal Protective Equipment and how to keep yourself safe in the workplace, OSHA Injury Attorney can help. You can contact us today for answers to your questions about PPE and the law.