Eye Injury Prevention QuizFirst Aid & OSHA Regulations
Saving your company money is worthy but you can save something truly priceless: your eyesight. Each day, more than 2,000 workers suffer eye injuries, many of which are serious. In addition to your personal loss and suffering, your company may also lose thousands of dollars in workers compensation for a disabling injury. It's the kind of situation where everyone loses. There is however, something that can help you drastically reduce eye injuries: promote the adherence to proper safety measures and the widespread use of protective eye-wear. Wear protective eye-wear whenever and wherever required.
Metal fragments, tools, particles, chemicals and harmful radiation cause most eye injuries. A survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that three out of five workers who had an eye injury wore no protection. Of those who did, 40%wore the wrong kind.
The new term is "side protection". (OSHA) rules and regulations require that, "Employees shall use eye protection that provides side protection when there is a hazard from flying objects." For most hazardous jobs, goggles, helmets and face shields should be used in addition to safety glasses with side protection.
Anyone exposed to flying particles (wet or dry) in the workplace must wear eye protection. There are different working conditions that require different types of eyewear.
- IMPACT: Chipping, grinding, machining, masonry work, woodworking, sawing, drilling, chiseling, powered fastening and sanding
- HEAT: Furnace operations, pouring and casting, hot dipping and welding
- CHEMICALS: Acid and chemical handling, degreasing and plating
- DUST: Woodworking, buffing and general dusty conditions
- LIGHT AND/OR RADIATION WELDING: Electric Arc
- WELDING: Gas
- CUTTING, TORCH BRAZING, TORCH SOLDERING: Optical radiation
- GLARE: Poor vision
Eye injuries in the workplace are very common. More than 2,000 people injure their eyes at work each day. About 1 in 10 injuries require one or more missed workdays to recover from. Of the total amount of work-related injuries, 10-20% will cause temporary or permanent vision loss.
Experts believe that the right eye protection could have lessened the severity or even prevented 90% of eye injuries in accidents.
Common causes for eye injuries are:
- Flying objects (bits of metal, glass)
- Harmful radiation
- Any combination of these or other hazards
There are three things you can do to help prevent an eye injury
- Know the eye safety dangers at work-complete an eye hazard assessment
- Eliminate hazards before starting work. Use machine guarding, work screens, or other engineering controls
- Use proper eye protection.
You should wear safety eyewear whenever there is a chance of eye injury. Anyone working in or passing through areas that pose eye hazards should wear protective eyewear.
Safety eyewear protection includes:
- Non-prescription and prescription safety glasses
- Face shields
- Welding helmets
- Full-face respirators
The type of safety eye protection you should wear depends on the hazards in your workplace. If you are working in an area that has particles, flying objects, or dust, 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.
All three types of safety lenses meet or exceed the requirements for protecting your eyes.
- Are not easily scratched
- Can be used around harsh chemicals
- Can be made in your corrective prescription
- Are sometimes heavy and uncomfortable
- Are lighter weight
- Protect against welding splatter
- Are not likely to fog
- Are not as scratch-resistant as glass
- Are lightweight
- Protect against welding splatter
- Are not likely to fog
- Are stronger than glass and plastic
- Are more impact resistant than glass or plastic
- Are not as scratch resistant as glass
Have you ever gotten something stuck in your eye and didn't know what to do about it? This must-read list of first aid tips will prepare you to handle any eye injuries you may face in the future. A lot goes into keeping your eyes healthy and safe. But here's one important habit many people tend to overlook: Protecting your eyes from injury is extremely important. And wearing eye protection can go a long way toward preventing eye cuts, objects in the eye, blows to the eye, and other dangerous mishaps.
But you may not always be able to protect yourself from eye injuries. In that case, it's important to know what to do when eye trauma does occur.
- Don't rub the eye since this can scratch the outer surface (cornea) of the eye. You may have to keep small children from rubbing their eyes.
- Wash your hands before touching the eye.
- If you wear contact lenses, take your contacts out before you try to remove the object or flush the eye.
- If an object is over the dark center (pupil) of the eye or over the colored part (iris) of the eye, you may try to flush it out gently with water. If the object does not come out with flushing, wear dark glasses and call your health professional. Do not put any pressure on the eye.
- If the object is on the white part (sclera) of the eye or inside the lower lid, wet a cotton swab or the tip of a twisted piece of tissue and touch the end of it to the object. The object should cling to the swab or tissue. Some minor irritation is common after you have removed the object in this way.
- Gently flush the eye with cool water. A clean eyedropper may help. Often the object may be under the upper eyelid and can be removed by lifting the upper lid away and flushing gently.
- Do not try to remove a piece of metal from your eye, an object that has punctured the eye, or an object stuck on the eye after flushing with water.
- Never use tweezers, toothpicks, or other hard items to remove any object. Using these items could cause eye damage.
These types of eye injury require the immediate attention of an eye doctor. If your eye or eyelid has been cut or punctured in any way, don't attempt to wash the eye or remove anything stuck in the eye. Here are some more first aid tips for cuts and punctures in and around the eye:
- Avoid rubbing the eye or surrounding skin.
- Protect the eye from inadvertent rubbing by covering the eye with a rigid, circular object - cutting out the bottom of a paper cup will work.
- Don't put pressure on the eye while holding up the protective covering, in case there is a foreign body inside the cut.
- Affix the protective covering over the eye using a piece of tape.
- Go to an eye doctor or emergency room right away.
Whether it's a grain of sand or some other particle, here are suggestions on what to do - and what not to do - when an object gets in your eye:
- Don't rub your eye to get the object out or make it feel better - you may end up scratching your cornia by moving around the foreign body.
- Don't try to remove an object that is penetrating or embedded in the eye.
- Use a dampened cotton swab to try to gently remove an object that is not embedded.
- Allow your tears to flow; it may help get the object out.
- Try using eye wash or rinsing your eyes with water to flush out the particle.
- If you are not certain that you got the particle out, see an eye doctor.
Household cleaners or any other chemicals that splash into the eye can cause serious damage, and require immediate eye first aid to prevent eye injury. Follow these eye first aid steps if you get chemicals in the eye:
- Use water to flush or rinse out the eye right away. Don't waste time; do this immediately.
- Don't cover or put anything over the eye.
- Stand underneath a shower head or place your head beneath a running faucet. You may need to use both hands to keep the injured eye open while flushing it.
- Flush the eye for at least 15 minutes, keeping the eye wide open and allowing the water to run over and cleanse it.
- After following these steps, go to an emergency room immediately.
If you get hit in or near the eye with a ball or some other object with force, here are some first aid tips to treat it:
- Gently hold a cold compress or ice pack against the eye - don't put pressure against it.
- Keep your head elevated to minimize swelling.
- Go to a doctor's office or the emergency room if you experience pain or if your vision is affected.
It's always a good idea to see an eye doctor to get your eye checked out if you've sustained any eye injury. Remember to safeguard your eyes as much as possible with protective eyewear so that you don't need to use eye first aid - but if you do have an eye emergency, now you know just what to do.
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