On-The-Job Eye Safety and Protection

October 17th, 2017


eye safety

The majority of work-related eye injuries are caused by flying objects, falling objects or sparks striking the eye. Other common eye injury hazards also include fumes, vapors, chemical splashes or extremely bright light. Protect those pretty peepers! If the company you are working at provides, or recommends, a particular type of eye protection, wear it to keep you safe and avoid eye injury.

Work Around Large Flying Objects? Wear Polycarbonate Lens Safety Glasses or Goggles

When we think of eye injury, we usually think of something large striking the eyes from in front—perhaps a board thrown back by a saw, falling object, or flying chunk of rock.  If you are around this sort of hazard, you need high-impact protection–safety glasses or goggles with lenses of polycarbonate, the most impact-resistant material used in safety glasses.  In choosing protective eyewear, remember that while goggles offer overall protection, safety glasses may be the best choice if your job requires plenty of side-vision.

Eye Protection From Fast Moving Particles

The most common eye hazards, and causes of eye injury in the shop, are fast-moving, small particles, such as dust and debris from sanding, grinding, chipping, and similar operations.  A fast-moving particle, smaller than a grain of sand, can cause a great deal of damage to an unprotected eye.  Even relatively, slow-moving, fine particles, such as dust, can scratch the eye’s surface.  When choosing safety glasses or goggles for this type of hazard, you have to weigh impact-resistance against scratch-resistance.  Plastic and polycarbonate lenses are highly impact-resistant, but less scratch-resistant than glass lenses.  Glass lenses will shatter on high impact, but resist scratching from dust and grit better than other lenses do.  Some polycarbonate lenses are coated with a scratch-resistant surface to protect against both high-impact and fine-particle hazards.

Eye, Head & Face Protection from Chemicals, Fumes, and Heat

If you are working around dangerous chemicals, you need goggles that form a snug seal around your face and have hooded ventilators or, in extreme danger, no ventilators.  Such goggles need to be specially coated to prevent fogging.  The best protection against heat is a face shield that covers the face and neck, and typically made of acetate or other flexible, plastic materials.  Extreme heat or concentrated light may require the protection of a welding helmet.  Face shields should be used with other eye protection, never alone.

Do You Need To Wear Eye, Face or Head Protection At Work?

If you’re not sure, check with your supervisor. If you know your job requires you to wear safety equipment like a eye, face or head protection while on assignment with ABR and you do not have it, report it to your supervisor and your  local ABR Employment Services office immediately.

This blog about Eye Safety was written by Safety Management Services Company and edited by ABR. It is being shared with permission. 

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