Keep Your Eyes Safe While on the Job
Each year, thousands of Americans visit the emergency room to treat a workplace eye injury. A significant portion of eye injuries occur in manufacturing, construction and mining. During Workplace Eye Wellness Month in March, South Jersey Eye Physicians, PA is joining the American Academy of Ophthalmology in reminding employers and workers in these fields about the importance of wearing eye protection.
According to a December 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, more than 25,000 people sustained eye injuries at work that required time off in 2013. In total, all workplace eye injuries cost an estimated $300 million a year in lost productivity, medical treatment and worker compensation. Injuries range from simple strain to severe trauma, which can cause permanent damage and blindness, but 90 percent of workplace eye injuries are preventable with the appropriate eye protection.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology’s public education program, EyeSmart®, provides the following tips to avoid eye injuries at work:
- Wear protective eyewear when there is a chance of eye injury such as anywhere there may be flying debris, falling objects, chemicals and intense light and heat. This is particularly true of workers involved in welding. Among welders, their assistants, and nearby workers, UV radiation burns (welder’s flash) routinely damage workers’ eyes and surrounding tissue.
- Make sure your eye protection is American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved, OSHA compliant, and is appropriate for the hazards in your workplace. If you are working in an area that has dust particles in the air, you must at least wear safety glasses with side protection (side shields). If you are working with chemicals, you should wear goggles. If you are working near hazardous radiation (welding, lasers or fiber optics) you must use special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields or helmets designed for that task.
In case of an eye injury, follow these EyeSmart® tips for Care and Treatment Recommendations for Eye Injury to learn the dos and don’ts of eye injury first aid.
For more eye injury first aid tips and information about workplace eye safety, visit www.eyesmart.org.
Posted on March 02, 2016