Whoa, I nearly poked myself in the eye while putting on my safety glasses. Oh, the eye-rony! Puns are funny, but an injured eye is no laughing matter. According to the CDC, an estimated 2,000 U.S. workers sustain a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment each and every day. Eye injuries are common, but most are preventable.
Common causes of eye injuries include being struck by flying or falling objects, exposure to airborne particles, chemicals, and other hazards. The best way to prevent an eye injury is to wear properly fitted protective eyewear. In fact, your risk of an eye injury is reduced by 90% by simply wearing the right eye protection.
Protective eyewear must meet the minimum safety requirements of the ANSI Z87.1 Standard. Lenses and frames rated for high impact must bear the permanent marking of Z87+. Prescription glasses with side shields only qualify as protective equipment when the lenses, frames, and side shields are permanently marked with the Z87+ designation.
Over-the-glasses style safety glasses are available as an alternative to purchasing prescription safety glasses and are designed to be worn over top of regular glasses when safety glasses are needed. Goggles offer eye protection when working with chemicals. Face shields over top of safety glasses are an excellent choice for eye/face protection when using cutting tools. When working around radiation, welding, using lasers, or performing other tasks that may have a risk for an eye injury, use protective equipment designed specifically for the task at hand.
Each year an estimated 2.4 million eye injuries occur in the United States – approximately 50% of those injuries occur away from work. Safe behaviors are not limited to just the workplace. Practice safe behaviors outside of work by wearing protective eyewear when doing yard work, using power tools, taking part in recreational activities, and any other activity where there is the potential risk for an eye injury.
Now that we have discussed the importance of protecting our eyes from injury, eye will see myself out…