Here’s a stat that’s a bit of an eye-opener: Did you know that about 2,000 workers in the U.S. encounter an eye injury on the job every day? It’s true. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), that’s how many eye injuries can occur on a daily basis, from foreign objects like wood chips, chemicals and oil splashes entering the eye.
However, there’s good news – most eye injuries on the job can either be minimized or eliminated entirely with the proper precautions taken from an employer like you.
With this in mind, let’s get a better handle on where most eye-related accidents may occur in your environment, the eyewear for best protection and exactly what you can do to act quickly in the event of a co-worker’s eye injury.
First, canvas areas of your site that may invite more danger than others.
It’s a good start if you’ve had a history to review of where injuries have occurred, eye-related or not. It tells you that perhaps this particular area should be examined more closely. Is it an issue of certain machines or chemicals being ever-present that has caused injury before? If they haven’t, is it easy to see where such an accident could, in fact, happen?
As you’re taking a closer look at each area of your workplace, pay careful attention to signage. Any presence of hazardous elements nearby should be designated with appropriate signs that clearly convey both the hazard itself and the type of protective wear that needs to be on prior to entering the area – a good example of which might be a sign next to the doorway to a factory floor, instructing workers to put on goggles. Or to put on eyewear prior to operating a particular machine.
We’re focusing more on industrial workplaces as that’s where the bulk of where eye injuries can occur more often that are literally visible. However, don’t take that to assume that your people who may work in a traditional office environment are free of potential harm to their eyes, especially since their kind could be less obvious.
How so? Think about how frequently your people sit in front of a computer without getting up for any kind of significant break. We’re talking about hours and hours locked in on a computer screen, some of which may be spent straining and squinting at certain details. This can lead to a host of eye-related problems, such as blurred vision, double vision, headaches and eye irritation. To curb these developments, make sure that your employees have their computer screens positioned far enough away and encourage them to take regular breaks – if you’ve been looking for your excuse to engage them in team-building activities away from their cubicles, protecting their eye health is as good as any.
Next, let’s talk about the right eye care with the right eyewear and eye gear.
Safety glasses that offer wraparound protection from the side are a must when your people are working in conditions where dust, chemicals and debris could inadvertently enter the eye area. This type of eyewear is also essential should your workers be welding or dealing with lasers or fiber optics. Some eyewear offers a face shield / eye mask combination as well.
If you think any of these products are “too much” protection for what’s needed, trust us when we say there’s no such thing. Err on the side of caution and safety. Every time. Cutting corners is just never worth it. And remember, make safety training a requirement! SOS Technologies can help in this regard so that your workers embed specific steps for safety in their minds so that it becomes part of their natural routine.
Accidents can and will happen to the eye. Are your people fully prepared?
You can prepare to the best of your ability as a team, but when eye injuries happen, there are certain steps to follow just like any other critical injury that occurs in order to hopefully lessen its severity. So what actions should you and the rest of your team take?
Let’s assume the injury is severe in that the person is experiencing serious eye pain or can’t see out of the eye at all. They’re going to need medical attention, but that doesn’t mean you wait to administer first aid for an eye emergency.
This calls for you to rapidly flush the injured’s eye with water and not for just a few splashes either. We recommend a steady eye flush for no less than 15 minutes using a product such as this. If the injured is wearing contacts, don’t worry about trying to remove the lens. Upon finishing the flushing out of the eye with an eye wash, obtain medical attention.
Wood, Metal And Other Particles
The smallest of particles can be a massive irritant but it’s possible that lubricant eye drops could help move it out of the eye. In addition to using this type of product, lift the upper eyelid and down over the lower eyelid, which may also help remove the particle. Should you not be able to remove the particle or the injury is clearly too severe for a simple washing out using artificial tears, bandage the injured’s eye and make sure they receive medical attention.
More Severe Injuries
Some injuries can’t be remedied through an eye flush or eye drops – specifically cuts or when an object is lodged in the eye. For these circumstances, make sure you have a cold compress in your first aid cabinet. Apply only light pressure to the eye. If there is an object in the eye that is much larger than a small particle, do not try to play doctor and remove it! Keep the cold compress on the eye while the injured is transported to receive medical care.
There’s a wide range of eye care and eyewear products available from SOS Technologies that belong in your first aid cabinet today. And that’s not all. Talk to us about first aid training for your entire team too, which can bring your environment to a fully proactive and prepared state before, during and after any eye injury. Call SOS today at 888.705.6100.