Preventing eye injuries and blindness is especially important in high risk industries, like construction or general industry. According to the CDC, each day, approximately 2,000 U.S. workers sustain a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment. Around 33% of these injuries are treated in hospital emergency departments.
How Eye Injuries Occur
Striking or scraping: Most eye injuries are from small particles or objects striking or scraping the eye. These materials are often spout out by tools, windblown, or fall down from work happening above you. Larger objects can also strike the eye causing blunt-force trauma to the eyeball or eye socket.
Penetration: Some objects (nails, staples, slivers of wood) can go through the eyeball and result in a permanent loss of vision.
Chemical and thermal burns: Industrial chemicals or cleaning products are common causes of chemical burns to the eyes. Thermal burns can also occur to welders.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to ensure the safety of all employees in the work environment. OSHA requires that employers provide eye and face protection whenever necessary to protect against mechanical, environmental, radiological or chemical hazards.
Examples of Safety Eyewear Protection:
- Non-prescription and prescription safety glasses
- Face shields
- Welding helmets
- Full-face respirators
Wearing ANSI Z87.1 certified safety glasses, goggles and face shields can mitigate the impact of up to 90% of eye injuries suffered in the workplace. Eyewear that is marked as Z87.1 + indicates that there is a high-velocity impact rating.
In addition, OSHA requires employers to conduct a formal personal protective equipment (PPE) assessment to ensure all necessary PPE is identified and worn to decrease the chances of an injury.