Safety glasses are the best eye defense. Sixty per cent of eye injuries, according to a report, happens at workplaces. But there are other sources of eye injuries, like playing sports and other recreational activities and doing work around your homes. Eye injuries can be as simple but as painful as getting hit by a ball or by a flying metal splinter. Employers and employees will benefit from complying with this simple personal protective equipment and save both costs and downtime. One caveat, your prescription eyeglasses are NOT safety glasses.
Here are a few statistics on the eye injuries in the workplaces:
- More than 700,000 eye injuries happen annually in American workplaces.
- Seventy per cent of these injuries are caused by flying particles and one fifth caused by chemical exposure.
- For those workers wearing protective eyewear, fifty per cent were still injured. Appropriate safety glasses could have prevented the injury.
- It is estimated that 125,000 injuries occur in homes, and more than 40,000 sports-related injuries happen to children and adults every year.
- More than 130,000 Australians seek medical attention due to eye injuries.
- Sixty per cent of these injuries happened in the workplaces.
- Ninety per cent of the injuries could have been prevented by wearing the appropriate safety glasses.
What are the hazards?
Many workplaces or industries pose hazards on workers’ eye health. These industries are construction, manufacturing, mining, agriculture, health care, military, pharmaceuticals, service-related industries and most especially these days, law enforcement.
These industries have workers exposed to hazards on a daily basis like chemicals with toxic fumes or chemical flashes, causing eye burns, especially in laboratories. In the Mining and Construction industries, dust, metal splinters and fragments are everyday happenings. Although dust can be easily washed off with clean water, prompt attention is still needed. The constant occurrence may cause serious damage to the eyes. Metal splinters into one’s eyes can not be underestimated. The damage can be irreversible.
The increasing digital work environment also contributes to the increasing eye health injuries because of the workers’ prolonged focus on computer screens.
What are the problems?
There are different kinds of safety glasses for specific occupational hazards. It is not a one size fits all kind of eyewear. You have to get the kind that is appropriate for your industry. Many people might not be aware of this and will use the eyewear style, which they liked the most. It is important to know the basics.
- First, look for the ANSI Z87.1 certification – This will assure you that the product passed government test standards which means it will protect you on impact, liquid splashes, and non-ionizing radiation.
- Know the hazards of your job and find the glasses with appropriate protection – Do you work with chemicals, metals, dust and other particles, radiation-producing gadgets and tools, fumes?
Design plays an important part in the total eye protection. Comfort does not mean safety. Employers and employees should give attention to adequate fit and reduce risks by using wide-vision spectacles to not hamper a workers’ productivity and performance.
How can these be prevented and solved? Australian/New Zealand AS/NZS 1337.1:2010 has set the standard for personal eye protection that aims to ensure producers of eye protection products comply with the safety tests and requirements of occupational face and eyewear.
Standards are provided for protection and not to burden, and it will have no value; however, in protecting the workers if compliance is not done 100% of the time. Get advice from professionals for your best eye protection option.