Injuries to the eyes can last a lifetime, but they can happen in just a split second.
Wearing of safety glasses is a simple rule, and it’s one that thankfully, more and more workers are obeying since the advent of many technologically advanced and stylish safety eyewear on the market today, such as many of the eye protection products in the Gateway Safety Starlite line sold on BottomlineSafety.com.
Yet still, may workers eyes remain unprotected. A recent study stated that 60 percent of workplace injuries result from not wearing eye protection. (Canadian Occupational Safety, November 2011)
Why such alarming statistics?
- Hazards go unrecognized
It is important to conduct a needs assessment and understand each worker’s job. Inspect, audit, interview to improve the safety of your workplace.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is used a shortcut to safety
Rather than use PPE alone, it’s better to try to eliminate the hazard altogether. If that’s not possible, try to reduce the hazard to minimize the risk to the worker. Use PPE to further reduce the chance of an injury.
- Poor Fit
Now, with the various fits available on the market today, it’s much easier to get a product that fits. Watch to be sure the product is form fitting enough to protect the eyes from liquids and/or particulates (as determined by your needs assessment) from reaching the eyes.
- Wrong lenses for the situation
If you don’t know what the product is meant to protect you from, it won’t do much good. Protective eyewear that is designed to protect you from harmful chemicals might not protect you from a high-speed projectile and vice versa. Or you might purchase a lens for the wrong environment, for example you steam up in a steel mill or frost over while working in below freezing temperatures.
- Tinted lenses
If you work outdoors, tinting and UV protection might be mandatory; however, some indoor workplaces forbid the use of tinting because it can hinder eyesight indoors and become a greater danger to the worker.
- Not safety certified
Products simply calling them safety glasses may not meet all of the standards required by your local legislation. Watch for product markings so that you are sure that they meet your local requirements.
- Wearing glasses when glasses themselves aren’t enough
If you use safety glasses, when a mono-goggle or a face shield is required, it simply is not enough, and you are opening your workers up to injury. Your workplace needs and hazard assessment should indicate what level of protection is enough to keep your workers eyes safe.
- Not wearing the eyewear on the eyes
It might seem cool, or more convenient, but if the PPE is not covering your eyes, it won’t do any good.
- Wearing eyewear that has worn out
Protective eyewear should be replaced if it is scratched, damaged or broken, however many workers hang on to prescription eyewear longer than they should due to the replacement costs. Solution? Wear your regular glasses with a mono-goggle that meet your workplace needs assessment over top.
- No access to an eye wash station
American standard ANSI Z358.1 proper selection, installation and maintenance of emergency eyewash equipment. Although such standards do not exist in all global jurisdictions, your internal hazard assessment should determine the risks and act accordingly. For instance, the eyewash station should be the right temperature so the worker can tolerate the minimum-required rinse time or use a saline solution that’s self contained.
Make sure you consider your protective eye wear purchase carefully and get the right protection for your workers.