What causes eye injuries?
- Flying particles – according to BLS, about 70% of the accidents recorded resulted from flying or falling objects or sparks striking the eye. Injured workers estimated that nearly three-fifths of the objects were smaller than a pinhead; most of the particles were said to be traveling faster than a hand-thrown object.
- Chemicals contact – contact with chemicals caused one-fifth of the eye injuries.
- Swinging objects – Eye injuries were also caused by objects swinging from a fixed or attached position like ropes, chains, or tools that were pulled into the eye while the worker was using them.
Why do we have eye injuries at worksites?
Eye injuries at work occur for the following reasons:
- Not wearing eye protection – nearly 3 out of every 5 workers injured were not wearing eye protection at the time they had the accident.
- Wearing inappropriate eye protection for the job – about 40% of the injured workers were wearing inappropriate eye protection when the accident occurred.
Ways of Preventing eye injuries
- Always wear effective eye protection – for eye protection to be effective, eyewear must be appropriate for the hazard encountered and properly fitted.
- Better training and education should be offered to construction workers about where and what kind of eyewear should be used for a particular job
- Eye protection devices must be properly maintained.
Tips for Protecting Construction Workers’ Eyes
The employer must ensure that:
- All affected employee uses the appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to health hazards from flying particles, liquid metals, acids, chemical gases or injurious light radiation
- Every affected employee who wears protection lenses while engaged in operations that involve eye hazards wears eye protection that can be worn over the prescription lenses without disturbing the proper position of the prescription or protective lenses.
- Affected employees use equipment with filter lenses that have a shade number appropriate for the work being performed for protection from injurious light radiation.
- Employees whose occupation or assignment requires exposure to laser beams should be furnished laser safety goggles which will protect for the specific wavelength of the laser and be of optical density adequate for the energy involved.
Face and Eye First aid Measure.
Emergency eyewash facilities meeting the requirements of ANSI Z 358.1-2009 must be provided in all areas where the eyes of any employee are exposed to corrosive materials. All such emergency facilities should be located where they can be easily accessed in an emergency. Best practices and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recommends eyewash stations and shower equipment in appropriate locations when employees are exposed to hazardous materials, including caustics, as well as additional substances and compounds that can produce adverse effects on the health and safety of employees.
What should be done in an eye emergency?
- Flush the eye immediately with large amounts of water for at least 15 minutes.
- The eyelids should be kept away from the eyeball to ensure thorough rinsing.
- Get immediate medical attention
Selection Chart Guideline for Eye and Face Protection
|Source||Assessment of Hazard||Protection|
|IMPACT – Chipping, grinding, machining, drilling, riveting, sanding||Flying fragments objects, large chips, particles, sand, dirt, etc.||Spectacles with side protection, goggles, face shields For severe exposure, use face shield over primary eye protection|
|HEAT – Furnace operations, casting, hot dipping, and welding.||Hot sparks
Splash from molten metals High-temperature exposure
|Face shields, goggles, spectacles with side protection. For severe exposures use face shield. Face shields, reflective face shields
Screen face shields, reflective face shields
|CHEMICALS – Acid and chemicals handling||Splash
|Goggles, eyecup, and cover types. For severe exposure, use face shield over primary eye protection.
|DUST – Woodworking, buffing, general dusty conditions||Nuisance dust||Goggles, eyecup, and cover types|
|LIGHT and/or RADIATION|
|Welding – electric arc||Optical radiation||Welding helmets or welding shields. Typical shades: 10-14|
|Welding – gas||Optical radiation||Welding goggles or welding face shield. Typical shades: gas welding 4-8, cutting 3-6, brazing 3-4|
|Cutting, torch brazing, torch soldering||Optical radiation||Spectacles or welding face shield. Typical shades: 1.5-3|
|Glare||Poor Vision||Spectacles with shaded or special-purpose lenses, as suitable.|
Important Notes to Eye and Face Protection Selection
- Care should be taken to recognize the possibility of multiple and simultaneous exposures to a variety of hazards. Adequate protection against the highest level of each of the hazards should be provided. Protective devices do not provide unlimited protection.
- Operations involving heat may also involve light radiation. protection from both hazards must be provided
- Face Shields should only be worn over primary eye protection (spectacles or goggles)
- Tinted and shaded lenses do not filter lenses unless they are identified as such
- Persons whose vision requires the use of prescription lenses should wear protective devices fitted with prescription lenses or protective devices designed to be worn over regular prescription eyewear
- Wearers of contact lenses must also wear appropriate eye and face protection devices in a hazardous environment
- Caution should be exercised in the use of metal frame protective devices in electrical hazard areas
- Atmospheric conditions and restricted ventilation of the protector may cause lenses to fog. Frequent cleansing may be necessary
- Welding helmets or face shields should only be used over primary protection (spectacles or goggles) and not vice-versa.
- Non-side shield spectacles are available for frontal protection only, but are not acceptable eye protection for the sources and operations listed for “Impact”.
- Ventilation should be adequate, but well-protected for Splash entry.
- Protection from light radiation is related to filter lens density, select the darkest shade that allows task performance