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Common Workplace Eye Injuries and How to Prevent and Address Them

Workplace eye injuries are one of the most common with over 20,000 cases reported annually. This is according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These are horrifying figures given that 90% of these injuries could have been prevented with the right kind of eye protection. Most eye injuries occur in the construction industry, and other common cases are found in the manufacturing and the oil and gas industries.

According to statistics, one in ten of those eye injuries requires a day or more to recover from.  Of these work-related injuries, a huge percentage will result in temporary or permanent loss of vision.  It is also estimated that eye injuries cost more than $250 million annually in medical expenses, worker compensation, and lost production time.

Type of Injuries Reported

Workplace eye injuries can be mild cases of eye strain or serious injuries that could result in permanent damage or blindness. Some of the common eye injuries include:

Penetration

When an object pierces the eye, penetration occurs, and this can lead to loss of vision or blindness. Staples and nails are to blame for this type of injury.

Eye Scraping

Eye scraping occurs when something scratches or hits the eye. Cement chips, wood, or dust can all scratch the eye, Trauma to the eye can also happen when larger objects can come into contact with the face.

Chemical and Thermal Burns

Different industrial chemicals can cause damage to the eye. Burns can damage the tissue around the eye and result in permanent loss of vision. Welding is one of the area’s workers face the risk of thermal burns due to the nature of the work.

Tips To Prevent Eye Injuries

Most workplace eye injuries happen when safety eyewear is not required or cases where the person is left to decide if they will wear safety eyewear. Employees should realize how severe eye injuries can be which could result in missed work, vision loss, and permanent damage.

Here are some tips to prevent workplace injuries.

Know Your Workplace

The first step to preventing eye injuries at the workplace is to know your work environment. This is because every industry and workplace have various possible eye hazards. There is a no one size fits all solution for every workplace. Some of the dangers to look out for include:

·       Poisonous or noxious gases

·       Shifting or failing materials, debris, and glass.

·       Metal particles, concrete, and dust.

·       Fires and thermal hazards.

·       Welding or cutting electrical and light arcing.

·       Chemicals such as cement powder, lime, solvents.

Once you’ve known the potential risks, you need to work on creating a safe work environment. This can be done through:

·       Ensuring that the safety features and tools are in place.

·       Minimize hazards from unstable or falling objects.

·       Keep people out of hazardous areas.

·       Use the right tools properly.

Use Eye Protection Gear

Wearing the proper safety eyewear is critical whenever there’s a chance of eye injury. If you work in an area that poses eye hazards, it’s essential to wear the right safety gear. Those who work for long hours on the computer should also get glasses to reduce eye strain. Some of the available safety wear include welding helmets, face shields, goggles, prescription glasses, and full face respirator.

Exercise Common Sense

Common sense involves using the right eye protection when out working or playing sports. Also, it involves following your company’s safety policy and ensuring that your work space is clean at all times.

Provide Training

As an employer, it’s critical to provide new employees with the right training when it comes to safety practices. For employees whose job duties change, consider safety training as part of an ongoing education practice.

Focus on Workplace Injuries

Every organization is unique, and the same applies to your injuries.  Depending on the type of work, you need to pay attention to appropriate staffing, eye safety, ergonomics, hearing protection and work site safety. Avoid over-exertion and encourage regular breaks.

Eye injuries are common in the workplace. The best part is that most of these injuries can be prevented by using the right eye safety gear and assessing your work environment. As an employer, it’s critical to provide the right safety training and incorporate different safety elements to keep your employees safe.