It’s estimated that 700 Canadian workers a day sustain eye injuries while on the job. These injuries result in time lost from work and sometimes, either temporary or permanent vision loss. Most of these eye injuries could have been prevented with a little extra care and forethought.
Here’s how to keep your eyes safe on the job.
Be aware of hazards in your workplace. You can avoid or minimize threats to your safety by removing loose debris or anything that looks like it could fall. Other hazards to be aware of include:
- Flying bits of metal, glass, stone or wood
- Particles such as sand or sawdust
- Chemical splashes
- Sparks and slag from welding and cutting
- Pipes and wire sticking out of walls
- Objects hanging from ceilings
- Sun and wind
Safe Handling of Tools
Eye injuries can also occur through the unsafe handing of tools. Before you start a job, be sure that the tools you’re using work properly and always check safety features, such as guards before using equipment. Make sure that all workers, especially volunteers, know how to use the tools.
While the tools are in operation, be sure to keep bystanders at a safe distance.
Wear Approved Eye Protection
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to prevent workplace eye injuries is to always wear the proper eye and face protection. Protective eyewear includes:
- Non-prescription and prescription safety glasses
- Face shields
- Welding helmets
- Full-face respirators
Be sure safety glasses or other eye protection fits properly and will stay in place. It should fit snugly without being uncomfortable. Never tamper with your safety eyewear. Wear protective eyewear that is designed for the specific job or hazard and wear it consistently. In Canada, protective eyewear must meet Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards. Look for their mark on safety eyewear to ensure that the eyewear protection meets or exceeds existing CSA safety standards.
It’s important to properly maintain and store your protective eyewear to ensure it lasts and offers maximum protection.
Before removing eye protection, brush, shake or vacuum dust and debris from hardhats, hair, forehead or the top of the eye protection.
More Points to Ponder
- Even when you’re wearing other protection like a welding helmet or face shield, keep your safety glasses on. Flying chips or dust can get under the shield if the visor is lifted.
- Match your eye protection to the specific hazard. For example, goggles that protect your eyes from dust may not protect them from splashes or radiation.
- Clean lenses with water or a lens-cleaning solution to float dirt away and avoid scratching the lens.
- Check plastic visors or protectors for scratches that may limit vision or cracks that can weaken structural strength.
- Safety glasses with polycarbonate lenses are impact and scratch resistant. Polycarbonate lenses are also better at transmitting light and providing clear vision. They are the thinnest and lightest lenses available.
- Keep a spare pair of protective eyewear on hand.
- Always follow the safety procedures for your workplace, know the location of eyewash station and first-aid equipment and learn how to use it.