Eye Safety www.charleshowes.com
I. Observe eye safety signs and procedures • Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that most workers are hurt while doing their regular jobs. Workers injured while not wearing protective eyewear most often said they believed it was not required by the situation.
II. Always wear appropriate ANSI Z87 approved eye protection in clean and serviceable condition for mechanical, chemical, biological or radiant energy hazards. • OSHA standards require that employers provide workers with suitable eye protection. To be effective, the eyewear must be of the appropriate type for the hazard encountered and properly fitted. For example, the BLS survey showed that 94% of the injuries to workers wearing eye protection resulted from objects or chemicals going around or under the protector. Eye protection devices should allow for air to circulate between the eye and the lens. Only a small percentage of workers injured while wearing eye protection reported breakage.
Nearly one-fifth of the injured workers with eye protection wore face shields or welding helmets. However, only six percent of the workers injured while wearing eye protection wore goggles, which generally offer better protection for the eyes. Best protection is afforded when goggles are worn with face shields.
III. Never wear contact lenses where smoke, dust, and chemical fumes exist. • Contact with chemicals caused one-fifth of all occupational eye injuries.
IV. Know where the eye wash fountain is and how to use and maintain it. • Lock and Tag eye wash stations in Open position if necessary. Inspect and record monthly. • Recent studies have raised some concerns about portable eye wash stations even when they are inspected, cleaned, and filled with water and anti-bacterial agents. A number of eye infections have been associated with these stations.
Infections, whether bacterial, fungal, or viral are frequent causes of severe corneal damage and ulceration.
V. Know basic first aid for eye injury so you can help yourself and your fellow worker. • Pull down the lower lid to see if the object is visible. If so, use the corner of a clean, folded handkerchief or tissue to remove the object. Do not use cotton balls or swabs around the eye since the fibers could come off in the eye and be a further source of aggravation.
If the object is under the upper lid, have the person look down, grasp the eyelashes of the upper lid and pull the upper lid forward and down over the lower lid. This may dislodge the object. • If these measures do not dislodge the object, then take an applicator and horizontally depress the upper lid by pulling up on the eyelashes against the applicator. Then lift the object off the lid with the corner of a handkerchief or tissue.
Flush the eye with an eye dropper or small bulb syringe. • If you are unable to remove the object, place protective dressings over both eyes and have a specialist examine the injured person.
VI. Have an eye examination by your eye doctor every two or three years, or sooner as directed, to ensure you have good vision to do your job safely and efficiently. • Eye disease can strike at any age. Many eye diseases do not cause symptoms until the disease has done damage. Since most blindness is preventable if diagnosed and treated early, regular medical examinations by an ophthalmologist are very important. Only an ophthalmologist (MD) can provide total care for your eyes: medical, surgical, and optical.
VII. Report to your supervisor hazards and unsafe practices that may cause eye injury. • BLS found that almost 70% of the accidents studied resulted from flying or falling objects or sparks striking the eye. Injured workers estimated that nearly three-fifths of the objects were smaller than a pin head. Most of the particles were said to be traveling faster than a hand-thrown object when the accident occurred.
VIII. Encourage your fellow workers to practice eye safety and receive annual eye safety training. • Even though the vast majority of employers furnished eye protection at no cost to employees, about 40% of the workers received no information on where and what kind of eyewear should be used.
IX.Use common sense in all activities potentially hazardous to the eye. • It is estimated that 90% of eye injuries can be prevented through the use of proper protective eyewear.
X. Wear ASTM F803 approved eye guards when playing sports • More than 43,000 sports and recreational eye injuries were treated in hospital emergency rooms in 2004.
Eye Protection Home & Sports
Facts & Figures • Eye injury is the leading cause of blindness in children in the United States. • 160,000 school-age children in the U.S. suffer eye injuries each year. • More than 2.4 million eye injuries (equivalent to the total population of Arkansas) occur in the U.S every year. • About 55% of people injured are under 25.
Boys between the ages of 11 - 14 have the highest risk of eye injury among young people. • Baseball is one of the most common causes of eye injuries among young people ages 5-14. • Squash and racquetball cause the most sports-related eye injuries among adults ages 24-70.
Automobile repair is the most common cause of eye injury among young men in their late teens-early twenties. • In young people, vision problems or impairment can occur several years after an eye injury, if the injury is not treated properly.
Home • Knives, pencils, and other sharp objects can cause severe injury to the cornea. • Fireworks, exploding batteries, and toxic chemicals, especially alkalis, can also result in severe scarring of the cornea.
Diabetes • Diabetes mellitus is a problem with the utilization of blood sugar. There is too little insulin or it is ineffective. Diabetes can cause many problems in many body systems. Heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, nerve injury, and amputation are some of the more grim complications.
Recent studies show clear proof that the tighter the control of the diabetes, the fewer the complications. Eye disease (retinopathy), kidney disease (nephropathy), and nerve injury (neuropathy) were all shown to be dramatically less when the diabetes was in tight control.
Glycohemoglobin is a blood test that helps determine overall diabetic control over the last three months. • Home testing of blood sugar helps diabetics assume responsibility for their disease. • Special eye examination (dilated fundus exam), improves the chances of preventing visual loss from diabetes.
Cosmetics • Keep makeup containers closed tightly when not in use. • Keep makeup out of sunlight to avoid destroying the preservatives. • Don’t use eye cosmetics if you have an eye infection such as conjunctivitis (pink eye), and throw away any makeup you were using when you first discovered the infection.
Never add any liquid to a product unless the instructions tell you to. • Throw away any makeup if the color changes or an odor develops. Preservatives can degrade over time and may not be able to fight bacteria.
Automobile Air Bags • While recent reports have raised concerns about head-and-neck injuries that can result from air bags in motor vehicles, a new report shows that air bags also can cause serious eye injuries. • Eye injuries resulting from air bags may become a larger problem as more cars are equipped with the devices.
In a study of five patients treated at the ophthalmology trauma service at the University of California at Los Angeles, researchers observed injuries caused by driver’s side air bags ranging in severity from minor eye bruises to blindness.
Shorter people, who tend to sit closer to the steering wheel, may have a higher risk of eye injury because of increased impact that results from being closer to the wheel.