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Essentials of Safety: Don't Overlook Safety Glasses

Most people don't think twice about putting on their sunglasses during a bright sunny day, but they often forget about their safety glasses on the job. According to OSHA "thousands of people are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries that could have been prevented with the proper selection and use of eye and face protection. Eye injuries alone cost more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses, and worker compensation"

OSHA requires employers to provide eye and face protection for workers to protect them against chemical, radiological, or mechanical irritants and hazards. According to OSHA "Employers must assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present that require the use of personal protective equipment. If such hazards are present, they must select protective equipment and require workers to use it, communicate the protective equipment selection decisions to their workers, and select personal protective equipment that properly fits workers."

"All OSHA-approved prescription safety glasses must have markings specified by the ANSI Z87.1-2010 standard on both the lenses and the frame of the eyewear. The lenses should bear the manufacturer's mark, followed by a "+" if the lenses are impact rated." 

Potential Eye Hazards 

• Hammering, grinding, sanding, and masonry work that may produce particles 

• Handling liquid chemicals may lead to splashes in the eye 

• Welding leads to exposure to arcs and flashes (intense UV radiation) for welders, helpers, and bystanders

• Dusty or windy conditions can lead to particles in the eye

• Eye injuries can result from simply passing through an area where work is being performed 

THINGS YOU SHOULD DO IN THE WORKPLACE:

• Conduct an assessment of the work environment to determine risks

• Determine the appropriate eye and face protection based on those risks

•Ensure emergency eye wash stations are available where employees may be exposed to hazards

•Protect your eyes around other coworker’s or subcontractor’s work zones

THINGS YOU SHOULD NOT DO IN THE WORKPLACE:

•Do Not wear prescription glasses or sunglasses that are not properly rated for protection

•Do Not rely on contact lenses (prescription or otherwise) as adequate protection

•Do Not ever take chances when it comes to protecting your eyes properly