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Prevent Eye Injuries With the Right Eye Protection

eye protectionAccording to the Center for Disease Control, every day more than 2,000 U.S. workers receive some form of medical treatment for eye injuries sustained at work. Every year, U.S. workers suffer from more than 800,000 work-related eye injuries.

These are some big numbers. What’s even more startling is that safety experts estimate that eye protection could have prevented or lessened the severity of 90 percent of these injuries.

Workers can face a multitude of eye hazards on the job, including flying objects, extreme heat, chemicals (including liquids and gases), dust and optical radiation. Industries particularly prone to eye injuries are production, construction, installation/maintenance/repair, service and transportation.

So what can you do to keep your employees safe from eye injuries? Start by familiarizing yourself with eye safety standards, understand the different types of eye protection available and proper fitting and maintenance of eyewear. And remember, employers are responsible for providing employees with suitable eye protection equipment.

Eye Protection Standards

OSHA eye protection general industry requirements fall under standard 1910.133. The standard states that employers “shall ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards.” Additional OSHA requirements apply to shipyard (standard 1915.153) and construction (standard 1926.102) workers.

For more information on OSHA eye and face protection standards, see OSHA’s Eye and Face Protection eTool.

In addition to OSHA standards, state governments, local governments and industrial regulatory bodies may have additional eye protection requirements.

Eye protection equipment is also subject to standards. ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010 sets performance criteria and testing requirements for eye protection equipment.

Types of Eye Protection Equipment

Eye protection equipment comes in many different forms, including safety glasses, goggles, face shields and helmets. Safety glasses protect against flying debris. Wraparound glasses and glasses with side shields provide additional protection. Unlike regular glasses, safety glasses are of more durable construction and are made of impact resistant material.

Goggles are designed to create a protective seal around the eyes to protect against chemical splashes and dust.

Face shields and helmets protect against chemicals, heat and molten materials. Often, safety glasses or goggles are worn under face shields for additional protection.

Fitting and Maintenance

As with all PPE, eye protection equipment must be properly fitted and maintained. This is especially true of goggles, where a protective seal must form to protect against splashes or dust. Welding helmets must be carefully fitted to make sure they won’t slip off during use.

If an employee wears prescription glasses, then his or her protective eyewear must be fitted to sit securely over the prescription glasses without compromising its safety.

Proper maintenance of eye protection equipment is also critical. Pitted or dirty lenses, goggles or face shields can obstruct vision. Deeply scratched lenses, goggles and shields are more likely to crack or shatter on impact.

Eye Protection at Select Safety Sales

At Select Safety Sales, we have an excellent selection of safety glasses, safety goggles, welding goggles and face shields. We also carry specialized lens cleaning products and germicidal cabinets to help keep safety eyewear clean.

Need help selecting the right eye protection gear for your workplace? Call or email our safety experts at (866) 864-3495 or sales@selectsafetysales.com. You can also ask us questions through our online chat function.


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