Eye Protection in the workplace

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.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *