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Eye safety - how to preserve your workers' sight

Thousands of workers across the country sustain some sort of eye injury every day.Of these, about 10-20 percent experience vision loss (permanent or temporary).Achieving eye safety in the workplace is approached in different ways and is often based on the conditions in which the individual at risk will be working.Damage from foreign bodies as well as harmful lights, are two main dangers to consider.

Safety glasses are the easiest form of eye protection available.Glasses actually come in several types of material.Some are made with glass, some with plastic, and others with polycarbonate.Each material has its advantages and disadvantages.For example, polycarbonate lenses are lightweight and stronger than glass or plastic, but are not as scratch resistant as glass.Glass lenses can be made in your workers' prescription but are sometimes heavy and uncomfortable. Plastic lenses offer a more comfort with a lighter lens, but are not as durable as the other materials.Eye safety is also changing to match modern fashion trends.You can protect your eyes and still remain stylish as many eye safety devices come in various designs and colors.

Covering your eyes protects them from unwanted irritants and foreign bodies (pieces of debris).In higher danger areas where debris can perhaps fly into you face and bypass your glasses, face shields can be used.Goggles are also a suggested method to provide full eye coverage and maximum eye safety.Goggles are the most common method of eye protection among those workers who handle chemical substances.

Unfortunately, the occasional accident can not be prevented.So what should you as an employer do when you have a worker who has injured his eyes?

First - Assess the Urgency:
Emergency situations need immediate help and 911 should be called.If you know that the sight of your worker is not in any serious or immediate danger, you should see a physician immediately.

Second - Flush Eyes in the case of chemical/powder exposure,
do not irritate the eye in the case of a foreign body.
When the eye is exposed to chemical irritants, the eye should be flushed with a continual stream of water for at least 10-15 minutes.When you see the physician, have all of the information about the chemical that was exposed to handy.Different chemical exposures are treated differently.If the eye has some sort of foreign body in it (a piece of metal, wood shaving, etc.) avoid irritating the eye further.Do not rub your eyes!Doing so could cause even more harm to your sight.Allow a professional to remove the foreign body.

Third - See a Doctor:
Businesses should carry some sort of worker's compensation insurance.These policies should serve as guides to which occupational health clinics are available in your area.Most occupational health clinics are equipped to treat non-life/vision threatening eye injuries.If by chance they are not, a referral to an optometrist can be made.

Time is of the essence when it comes to eye safety and preserving the sight of your workers.Often the longer you wait to receive professional medical help, the more serious the problem becomes and the longer the healing process will take.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the federal agency that has been given the charge to enforce safety and healthy working conditions.OSHA has been working to conserve employee health in all areas of the workplace for over 20 years.Official legislation is available through the official OSHA website and should be the driving force to use as a guideline when implementing your own eye safety policies.Also, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) also provides helpful suggestions and studies that can guide you in finding the type of vision and eye protection that will be best for your operation.

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