Vision Loss and Eye Injuries
An eye injury is one of the most common injuries in the workplace, with more than 2,000 work-related eye injuries reported each day and the majority occurring in the construction industry. All eye injuries are entirely preventable with the use of protective gear and by exercising proper precautions. Tiny bits of particles like wood splinters and shavings, metal slivers, or cement dust can enter the eyes, either through the movement of the wind, or through common workplace related activities like hammering, rolling, sweeping, or the operation of machinery and can cause serious eye injury.
Eye injuries are often the result of catastrophic workplace accidents involving:
- Falling or flying objects
- Chemicals, solvents, or hot liquids
- Ultraviolet rays
From fractures of the eye socket to burns in the retina and cornea of the eye, these types of injuries often require plastic surgery to remove any smashed bone fragments, relieve pressure on the eye muscles, and restore the appearance and functionality of the eye region.
Prevention of Eye Injuries
Eye injuries can be reduced dramatically with the use of protective equipment. Goggles may be used to protect the eyes from injury, and if the worker wears prescription glasses, then the goggles must be designed to fit over the prescription eyewear, or prescription eye goggles must be provided to the worker. When necessary, protective eye gear must be supplemented with face shields that help prevent airborne particles from entering the eyes. Face shields are necessary if there is a danger of injury from splashing chemicals, or during activities like sandblasting and grinding that could cause a serious eye injury.
Workers must be trained in the proper use of protective gear, and must be taught to store it properly so it remains in good condition. Eye safety gear must be well fitting and comfortable to use, or there is a risk that workers will remove it altogether and become a victim of a serious eye injury. Signs must be posted outside hazardous areas that pose a high risk of injury to workers’ eyes, like welding sites or construction areas. Where there is risk of chemical splashes in the eye, there must be a designated eye wash station to rinse chemicals from the affected eye to prevent injury. Emergency response mechanisms for any kind of eye injury must be in place, and must be practiced to assure efficient execution in the event an eye injury occurs.