PROTECTING VISION IN THE WORKPLACE

Eye injuries in the workplace are very  common. Many workers sustain job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment. However, safety experts and eye doctors believe the right eye protection can lessen the severity or even prevent 90 percent of these eye injuries.

Eye Protection is a type of personal protective equipment (PPE) which comes in many types depending upon the threat that is to be reduced  to prevent injury to the eye. The threats can be small particles, strong visible light and non-visible rays, biological agents such as blood urine and faeces, wind blast, heat from boiling water or hot oil splash, chemical agents, sea spray or some type of ball used in sports.

However, laboratory staffs,  janitorial staffs, and health workers may be at risk of acquiring infectious diseases from eye exposure. Some infectious diseases can be transmitted through the mucous membranes of the eye. This can occur through direct exposure to blood/urine splashes, respiratory droplets generated during coughing, or from touching the eyes with contaminated fingers or other objects.

Individuals who spend long hours in front of digital devices without eye protection can be exposed to harmful rays emited by these devices.

WORKERS EXPERIENCE HAZARDS AT WORK FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

1. Not wearing eye protection

2. Wearing the wrong eye protection for a job

POTENTIAL EYE HAZARDS AT WORK

1. Chemicals (splashes and fumes)

2. Radiation (especially visible light, ultraviolet radiation, heat or infrared radiation, and lasers)

3. Projectiles (dust, concrete, metal, wood and other particles)

4. Bloodborne pathogens (hepatitis or HIV) from blood and body fluids

OCCUPATION WITH HIGH RISK FOR EYE INJURIES

• Construction

• Manufacturing

• Mining

• Carpentry

• Auto repair

• Electrical work

• Plumbing

• Welding

• Maintenance

ACTIVITIES THAT REQUIRE EYE PROTECTION

• Grinding

•  Sawing

•  Drilling

• Welding

• Spray painting

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•  Handling chemicals

•  Handling human waste and body fluids

•   Working in dusty environment

•   Working with the digital device for a long period of time,

Note that the type of eye protection you wear depends on your work place and the eye hazard you’re exposed to.

• If you are working in an area that has particles, flying objects or dust, you must at least wear safety glasses with side protection (side shields).

• If you are working with chemicals, you must wear goggles.

• If you are working near hazardous radiation you must use special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields or helmets designed for that task.eg. welders.

TIPS ON HOW TO PROTECT YOUR EYES FROM INJURY

1. Identify the eye hazard in your work place

2. Know the eye safety rules in your work place.

3. Eliminate the eye hazard in your work place before starting work.

4. Use the appropriate eye protection recommended for your work type.

5. Keep your safety eyewear in good condition and have it replaced if it becomes damaged.

TYPES OF EYE PROTECTION INCLUDE

1. Safety glasses ( Prescription and Non- prescription)

2. Goggles

3. Face Shields and helmets

4. Special Protection

1. SAFETY GLASSES: they’re designed to conform to a higher standard of impact prescription safety glasses are a good choice if you normally wear eyeglasses or contact lenses because they offer protection and clear vision.

They provide eye protection for general working conditions where there may be dust, chips or flying particles. Side shields and wraparound-style safety glasses can provide additional side protection.

It’s available in plastic, trivex, and polycarbonate materials.

2. GOGGLES: They are forms of protective eyewear that usually enclose or protect the area surrounding the eye in order to prevent particulates, water or chemicals from striking the eyes. Goggles can be worn over prescription glasses and contact lenses.

They are used in chemistry laboratories and in woodworking, snow sports as well swimming.

3. FACE SHIELDS AND HELMET: A helmet is a form of protective gear worn to protect the head and face shield is a device used to protect wearer’s entire face (or part of it) from impact hazard such as flying objects and road debris, chemical splashes (in industry), or potentially infectious fluid (for health workers).

4. SPECIAL PROTECTION: most safety glasses, goggles, face Shields ce with Special protection to prevent harmful rays from.getting into the eyes especially welders and people exposed to lasers.

Key points:

In case of a chemical splash in the eye, irrigate your eyes profusedly with water, and see your eye doctor immediately.

In case of a wooden/metallic material in the eye, do not try to remove, rather see your eye doctor immediately.

In case of a blow to the eye, try applying a cold compress on the eye, and see your eye doctor immediately.

Written by Dr. Chioma Innocent.

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