CINCINNATI — According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 1,000 eye injuries occur in U.S. workplaces every day.
“Oftentimes, eye injuries can be prevented, or in many cases minimized,” says Nancy Petersen, senior marketing manager, First Aid & Safety, Cintas. “Understanding the causes of these injuries and ways to reduce their occurrence and impact will benefit both workers and businesses.”
Cintas offers these tips for promoting eye safety:
IDENTIFY WORKPLACE HAZARDS
Eye injuries can be caused by many different hazards, including chemical exposure or contact with work equipment. Conduct a safety walk-through to locate areas and tasks that pose as risks to workers.
SELECT APPROPRIATE EYEWEAR
Eyewear must protect against the specific hazards employees will encounter and be properly fitted to the individual. Since different styles have varying levels of comfort and must help protect certain eye dangers, purchase multiple types of eyewear, including prescription lenses for workers who require them.
PROVIDE REGULAR TRAINING
Use training as an opportunity to highlight eye injury statistics and workplace hazards, demonstrate how and when to wear eye protection, and how to properly care for eyewear. Training should also provide guidelines for proper emergency response in the event that an eye injury occurs.
DISCARD INEFFECTIVE EYEWEAR
Replace eyewear that scratches easily, is not anti-glare, fits poorly or is uncomfortable for employees. Additionally, set up a schedule for inspecting eyewear for cracks or loose frames and throw away damaged PPE.
PROMOTE PPE COMPLIANCE THROUGH VISUAL REMINDERS
Place posters and signs near machinery, chemicals and in common areas such as break rooms. Make sure text is supplemented with pictures to warn employees whose first language may not be English.
PROVIDE EMERGENCY TREATMENT OPTIONS
Eyewash stations should be placed within 10 seconds of eye hazards. Clean equipment every few months or more often if necessary to maintain water and solution levels. Keep eye drops, eyewash and gauze stocked in first aid cabinets that are easily accessible.