Seeing is one of our senses that provides not only our impression of the world, but also allows each of us to do the tasks required to earn our living. Yet, according to Prevent Blindness America, more than 700,000 work-related eye injuries occur each year. These injuries cost companies more than $934 million a year due to medical costs, legal fees, judgments, and lost productivity. Nearly one million Americans have already lost some sight due to an eye injury.
With these numbers one would assume that an employer would not have any problem getting employees to wear safety glasses and other eye and face protection. Yet, it is estimated that 90 percent of all eye injuries at work are preventable when the proper safety measures are in place.
To help employers, the MSEA and PetroDocs have information available that can be used to educate everyone in your company about the factors that can lead to eye injury and some ways to help prevent those injuries.
Creating a safe work environment by encouraging proper eye safety measures among employees will lead to higher productivity as well as lower the chance of injury. This is good not only for improvement in safety, but also may contribute to better job morale.
It is important that you, the employer, develop a PPE Hazard Assessment that includes eye and face protection. (Completing and documenting a Hazard Assessment is an often overlooked OSHA requirement.) Then make sure your employees are trained in the use, care and limitations of the eyewear you provide.
Below are some ways that employees can protect their vision:
- Follow the company safety rules/policies as related to eye and face protection
- Know the locations and operation of eyewash stations
- Understand first-aid for various eye injuries
By preserving the vision of your workforce, you are protecting your business, keeping your costs lower, helping ensure the safety of your employees and promoting off the job awareness of eye safety.
Adapted from an article by Concentra