Eye Spy A Hazardous Work Environment
Eye injuries are one of the most commonplace occupational injuries. There are a variety of jobs that have the potential to damage your eyes through a variety of hazards. Foreign objects or chemicals may come into contact with the eyes and cause cuts or scrapes or irritation. Infectious disease can make its way into your body through the eyes for workers in the health care field. If you rub your eyes after coming into contact with hazardous or infectious material, it could cause damage to your eyes. It’s important to discuss eye injuries at the workplace because of how often they happen, they are largely preventable. At MPE, we believe our workforce can cut down on the number of eye injuries on the job.
Let’s discuss why people injure their eyes at work. Largely, it has to do with the level of caution they are taking. Wearing proper eye protection for a given task is crucial to your safety and well-being. Most people get hurt on the job because they are either not wearing any eye protection, or wearing the incorrect protection for the type of work they are doing. Nearly 60% of people who suffer an eye injury at work were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident. There are a lot of reasons someone may not wear the proper eye protection (or none at all). It could be laziness, it could be an improper analysis of the danger of the situation, but most importantly for our purposes, it could be a lack of education and proper safety management. Enforcing eye protection on the job is the number one way to prevent eye injuries. Proper safety training is a key element of this.
So what do employees need to learn? From the get-go, your employees need to know that eye protection is not an option—it is a necessity. Explaining the reason behind eye safety and the situations that call for it is essential to preventing these types of injuries. Any workplace that includes projectiles (particles in the air that could come into contact with the eyes and irritate them), chemicals (either liquid or gaseous), radiation in many forms, or bloodborne pathogens all require eye protection. Some of the most susceptible industries to occupational eye injuries include fields like welding, carpentry, construction, auto repair, plumbing, medical, mining, electrical work, manufacturing, maintenance work, and epidemiology.
So what can you do to prevent eye injuries? Take the following steps:
- Identify and understand the hazards on the jobsite that put your eyes at risk
- Eliminate or at least minimize these hazards to the best of your ability before work starts
- Equip yourself with the proper eye protection
- Maintain protective eye gear and replace it when applicable
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