NIOSH states that roughly 2,000 workers per day suffer a job-related eye injury that requires medical attention, with the majority involving small particles or objects irritating the eye. The selection of protective eyewear should be made based on a hazard assessment of each activity, including regulatory requirements, when applicable. Some objects, such as nails, slivers of wood and staples, can cause permanent loss of vision. Other eye injuries include chemical, thermal and ultraviolet radiation burns.
Employers can help reduce the risk of worker eye injuries by following these tips from NIOSH:
- Create a safe working environment.
- Minimize hazards from falling or unstable debris.
- Ensure tools work properly and safety features are in place.
- Ensure workers know how to properly use tools.
- Keep bystanders out of hazardous areas.
- Evaluate safety hazards.
- Identify the primary hazards at the site.
- Identify hazards posed by other workers, large machinery, and falling or shifting debris.
- Wear proper eye and face protection.
- Select appropriate Z87 eye protection for the hazard.
- Make sure eye protection is in good condition, fits properly and will stay in place.
- Follow good work practices.
- Use caution – brush, shake or vacuum dust and debris from hard hats, hair or the top of eye protection before removing it.
- Do not rub eyes with dirty hands or clothing.
- Clean eyewear regularly.
- Prepare for eye injuries and first aid needs by having an eyewash or sterile solution onsite.