Eye injuries at the workplace are very common. It is estimated that over 2,000 people injure their eyes at work each day. What are the situations where workers eyes got injured and what are the protective measures to be taken to avoid eye injuries? Dr.M.G.Deepa, Senior Resident in the department of Ophthalmology, Govt. Medical College, Cochin explains these issues in this article.
Eye injuries in the workplace are very common. It is estimated that over 2,000 people injure their eyes at work each day. Three out of five who suffered these were not wearing eye protection, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics. About 1 in 10 injuries require one or more missed workdays to recover from. Of the total amount of work-related injuries, 10%-20 % will cause temporary or permanent vision loss. Simply using the proper eye protection on the job could prevent many of the eye injuries each year. Common eye injuries occurring at work can result from chemicals or foreign objects in the eye and cuts or scrapes on the cornea. Other causes of injuries include splashes with grease and oil, burns from steam, ultraviolet or infrared radiation exposure, and flying wood or metal chips.
In addition, health care workers, laboratory and janitorial staff, and other workers may be at risk of acquiring infectious diseases from eye exposure. Some infectious diseases can be transmitted through the mucous membranes of the eye as a result of direct exposure to blood splashes, respiratory droplets generated during coughing, or from touching the eyes with contaminated fingers or other objects.
Two major reasons for eye injuries on the job are:
1. Not wearing eye protection
2. Wearing the wrong kind of protection for the job
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the United States require the use of eye and face protection whenever there is a reasonable probability of injury that could be prevented by such equipment. Personal protective eye-wear, such as goggles, face shields, safety glasses, or full-face respirators must be used when an eye hazard exists. The eye protection chosen for specific work situations depends on the type of hazard, the circumstances of exposure, other protective equipment used, and individual vision needs.
(Read the rest of this article from the May issue of Safety Messenger Magazine 2015)