Don’t ever take your eyes for granted. The gift of sight, even if you’re color blind or need glasses, remains one of the most powerful ways to interpret information as it is presented to you. Remember if your employer or your friend’s employer refuses to conform to proper workplace standards, all workers have certain rights, including reporting a health and safety issue or filing an injury claim, that you should not be afraid to exercise in case you’re putting your eyes, life, or limbs in danger.
So throw on your favorite safety glasses and read up on tips and tricks to avoid any potentially hazardous situation involving eyes.
Obviously some jobs and activities put workers more at risk for these type of incidents than others. Those who work with chemicals, such as medical employees, laboratory workforce, and even custodial staff need to take certain precautions. Whenever applying a chemical treatment, wear chemical goggles instead of regular safety goggles. Chemical goggles are specifically designed to keep any unwanted substance from getting near the eyes. While it is easy to assume that all safety goggles accomplish the same feat, not every pair is made equal.
Besides chemical burns to the eyes and surrounding facial skin, workers should avoid any tiny particles that may get into their eyes. For example, construction workers when cutting beams risk sawdust flying into their eyes and mouth. In this instance, the employee is safe wearing regular safety glasses that don’t suction to skin the same way chemical goggles hold on to the face.
If you work in the medical field, custodial field, in a laboratory, or with animals, your eyes are at risk for infectious diseases in the workplace as well as any ordinary eye hazard. These diseases are transferred whenever direct contact with the eye occurs. Direct contact includes rubbing your eye after handling the pathogen carrying specimen, splashes that hit the eye of blood, urine, or other bodily fluids, and through airborne methods such as coughing, or sneezing. In order to avoid touching your eyes while they carry a potentially dangerous virus, always wear gloves in the workplace. You should wash your hands thoroughly following these five steps before you put the gloves on and after you take the gloves off. The five steps to hand washing which include: Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, and Dry. Remember to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice to yourself while scrubbing to ensure maximum cleanliness. Read more on the proper way to wash your hands here. To avoid backsplashes of liquids or bodily fluids that contain infections, always wear safety glasses while handling any potentially dangerous liquid. In addition to goggles, wear gloves when moving these fluids and follow the same handwashing procedures addressed above. Finally, to keep airborne viruses at bay, wear both a face mask and safety glasses. You cannot control when and where a disease will be transferred via sneezing or coughing but you can always protect yourself.
In general, working with hazardous materials can present a great danger to workers. Every workplace that requires eye protection of any sort should always have an eyewash station within ten seconds of any employee who risks exposure. The first ten to fifteen seconds after exposure to eye-threatening chemicals are the most important. If treatment becomes delayed, then the employee risks the more serious and lasting effects of the chemical such as blindness, or cornea damage.
With that lovely picture in mind, I conclude my thoughts on eye safety in the workplace.
Remember, even star pupils who follow all of these tips are still at risk. Safety is an ongoing fight to prevent new dangerous that appear every day and you can never be overly cautious.
For a more visually demonstrative look at just how eye incidents can occur check out this video by ClickSafety: