According to data published by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, more than 700 people incur eye injuries at the workplace every day.
Considering the fact that Canada has many resource-centric jobs, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Mining, energy, and forestry are some of our biggest industries. This means exposure to chemicals, dust, and shards is quite common.
What does come as a surprise to most people is the fact that 90 percent of these injuries are preventable. With the right equipment and training, these workplaces can be made safer.
Here’s some eye-opening advice that’ll protect workers against eye injuries.
1. Wear the appropriate protective equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) includes eyeglasses, face shields, grinding goggles, welding helmets, and full-face respirator masks.
Here are two things you should keep in mind when ordering safety equipment.
- Avoid ordering generic sizes; made to fit equipment lasts longer and is more beneficial.
- For individuals who wear prescription eyewear, get equipment that can accommodate prescription lenses.
Depending on the requirements of the job, the safety equipment needed will also differ. For example, safety glasses to protect against dust will not protect against radiation and chemicals.
2. Replace defective equipment
Scratches and cracks on lens elements can reduce visibility and decrease the structural integrity of PPE. Loose or worn-out straps don’t fit well and can cause goggles to slide off. These are just some examples of how faulty equipment can be a hazard.
All equipment should be routinely inspected. All defective or damaged equipment should be replaced on priority basis.
3. Set up eyewash stations
In case there is a medical emergency, eyewash stations with clean water should be placed near the site. All workers should be aware of where the nearest station is from their location.
Emergency showers and eyewash stations allow for immediate decontamination. If hazardous substances are washed away quickly, the chances of permanent injuries go down significantly.
4. Be aware of eye fatigue
While the majority of eye injuries take place in industries such as construction and mining, desk jobs can also damage your eyes to a certain extent. Continuous exposure to LED screens can lead to a decreased sharpness of vision. Here are some tips you can use to avoid eye fatigue.
- Place the screen at a distance of 20 to 25 inches from your eyes.
- Keep the text on your screen enlarged to increase readability.
- Lower your screen’s brightness to decrease eye strain
- Use a blue-light filter
- Rest your eyes by looking away from the screen every 20-30 minutes.
5. Implement training and awareness programs
When implementing a safety program, it’s vital to get workers on board. Awareness of eye injury statistics and the importance of PPE will help decrease the likelihood of eye injuries at the workplace. First aid training on how to deal with eye injuries is a great way to keep your employees safe.
Metro Safety Training offers first aid training courses in British Columbia. We have three levels, each designed for individuals with different levels of expertise. We also provide Red Cross basic life support training, which includes CPR and AED training.