Take a Look at Your Eye Safety Program for Eye Wellness Month
March 25, 2014 | Staffing Blog
It’s only when you have issues with your eyesight that you truly begin to appreciate what a gift your sight is. While we’re quick to don a safety hat or steel-toed boots, sometimes we don’t always think about protecting our eyes from possible danger. One splash of a chemical or a flying piece of metal can cause serious damage to your eyes and vision.
March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month, making it a great time to review eye safety with your employees – whether they work in the factory or corporate office. All employees should be up to date on the latest OSHA eye and face protection regulations and given a pair of safety goggles or other protective gear. Even administrative employees who spend much of their time at a desk will, from time to time, need to head into the lab or factory.
OSHA standards state, “The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.”
It’s up to the employer to provide proper gear and educate employees on safety procedures.
Here are some tips from the National Safety Council:
- Make sure you have properly fitted protection.
- Keep your protective equipment clean to improve visibility. Wash it regularly with mild soap and water or eyeglass cleaner. Polish with a soft cloth or tissue.
- Use anti-dust and anti-fog sprays to help prevent buildup on safety glasses.
- Store the protective equipment carefully to avoid damage when not in use. Any damage to lenses or shields can lessen the impact-resistance and result in inadequate protection.
For employees who spend much of their day staring at a computer screen, the risk here isn’t chemical spray but eye strain. According to a 2013 report from The Vision Council, almost 70% of American adults experience some form of eye strain due to prolonged use of electronic devices. The report also notes that 33% of adults spend three to five hours in front of digital devices and another 32% spend six to nine hours staring at screens.
Symptoms of eye strain include red eyes or irritation, dry eyes, blurred vision, general fatigue from staring at screens and headaches.
Some tips from The Vision Council for preventing digital eye strain include:
- Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break from the screen and look at something 20 feet away.
- Build an “eye-gonomic” workspace to mitigate outside stressors.
- Program your devices for optimal distance viewing.