Every year, 800,000 workers suffer from an eye injury at their place of employment. 36, 000 of them require sick leave, racking up a total of $300 million in productivity losses every year. Prevent Blindness America has found that the correct PPE can prevent 90% of those wounds. This is an avoidable problem that costs comparatively little to prevent. Eye protection should never be viewed as optional.
Every employer has a moral duty to:
How to Protect Against Different Eye Injury Causes
Burns, lacerations, and cuts to the cornea are the most common forms of workplace eye injury, but grease and oil splashes are almost as destructive. Industrial chemicals, cleaning products, and welding sparks can cause extensive damage to the ocular surface, anterior segment, and cornea, potentially causing permanent visual impairment. If your workers weld or use industrial chemicals, they should wear chemical-resistant glasses, respirators, and face shields.
Barely-perceptible debris is more dangerous than you might think—the most common causes of lacerations are airborne dust, metal slivers, wood, and cement chips. Goggles are the most important protection here, shielding the eyes from even the finest airborne particles. A massive number of eye injuries are the result of slips, so don't ignore your floors or stairs.
You can reduce the risk of minor impact injuries with safety glasses constructed from polycarbonate. This sophisticated material has twice the impact resistance of other plastics and offers excellent clarity. When correctly treated, it can even protect against steam burns and radiation exposure.
While glass is an important protective lens material, it's prone to shattering under severe impact, so it's important to use materials that meet the latest ANSI standards. Under these regulations, glass lenses must pass impact tests and have a minimum thickness of three millimeters.
Understanding Impact Safety
It's easy enough to source dust and debris-resistant PPE, but if your work environment has impact risks, your equipment will need to meet basic impact safety regulations. Today's safety lenses are broadly divided into basic and high impact classifications. Basic impact lenses can resist cracking and breakage in a drop ball test. High impact materials must pass a high-velocity test without chipping.
These lenses carry a "+" marking and can be bought in variable thicknesses to cater to prescription requirements. Lenses with an "s" marking are shaded to prevent light transmittance, while "v" lenses are photochromic. They can adapt to a range of different lightings and darken to protect against 100% of UVA and UVB light. If you have any light-sensitive workers, these are the lenses to use because they provide excellent optical clarity.
Coming to Terms with Brand Differences
How to Protect Your Staff on an Administrative Level
1) Understand Your Work Environment
The transport, service, and production industries are the worst offenders when it comes to eye injuries, but every work environment has its own unique risks. A one-size-fits-all approach won't do, so take a careful, objective look at your work environment. It's only through inspecting your work areas and equipment that you can determine the ideal PPE for your staff.
2) Provide Vision Testing
No amount of PPE can protect workers who have uncorrected short or far-sightedness, so it's best to perform routine eye tests. Prescription safety glasses will reduce the risk of eye injury while boosting poor vision.
3) Don't Ignore Comfort
Your PPE program is only as effective as your workers' compliance. If safety gear fits poorly or hurts your staff, they're unlikely to comply, so even the best safety gear can fall short. You can address this issue by encouraging feedback from your workers and arranging fittings with an eye care professional.
4) Make Your Staff an Active Part of Your PPE Program
The smaller details of your PPE maintenance will slip by unnoticed if your staff aren't carrying some of the load. They need to know where to go for safety goggle repairs and how to inform you of hazards you've missed. Nobody understands your PPE failures better than the people they're intended to help so educating your employees is the single most important way to boost vision safety on a managerial level. Turn your workers into participants by inviting feedback.
5) Build a Broader Policy
Monitoring PPE usage is a full-time job if your regulations vary by worker and station. You'll get better results if all the workers on your floor are required to wear some form of PPE. If managers wear the correct eyewear, your staff will also be more likely to comply. A signed agreement can boost your results.
6) Educate Your Staff
Scratched safety glasses can impair vision and increase the chance of accidents, so educate your staff on how they should maintain their PPE. Every worker should be taught when to add to their goggles and how to achieve the required seal. Awareness and prevention are two of the most powerful additions to your safety program.
Bridge Safety Vision offers a structured safety program that connects you, your staff, and their closest Walmart Vision Center. With us at your side, you can take the paperwork and red tape out of the process. Our Digital Payment Card and wide product range keeps your costs down while boosting your business' occupational health.