Purchasing safety glasses for your employees, while certainly necessary, is only step one in a complete eye protection program. There’s a lot more to it.
How much more? What is involved in providing a complete eye protection package for your company?
- Analysis of the environment – Providing safety glasses isn’t adequate in environments where dust and debris is flying around. Check to see how you can minimize potential eye injury issues. Adequate ventilation and/or blowers might be one simple step that would help reduce eye injuries. It might also be a simple issue of isolating the area where debris is flying around. Notice also corners, hanging wires and other items that might present potential hazards.
- Learn from history – Studying past reports will give you a lot of information about the how and why of past eye injuries, where they occurred, etc… Use this information to make necessary changes.
- Prepare for an emergency – Accidents will happen, no matter how much preventative work you do. Make sure that you’ve got eyewash stations and first aid stations set up in the appropriate locations
- Educate and Train – Letting your employees know the how and why of eyewear protection usually translates into an increase in ownership of the eyewear protection standards and policies. Explain how eye injuries occur, educate about when goggles are more appropriate than safety glasses, give them information on statistics and numbers regarding injuries. All of these will allow employees to participate and comply, not because “the boss said so” but rather because they understand that they are the ones who will benefit.
- Monitor and enforce – Mandate a 100% eye protection policy and check periodically to make sure that your employees are in fact wearing their eyewear.
- Customize – As mentioned in a previous post, standardization isn’t necessarily the best practice. It might save money in the short run but it will probably cost you more in the long run with an increase in injuries. Spending more now for eyewear that the employees will wear will reduce eye injuries later.
Ultimately, the issue at hand is not getting the employees to wear safety glasses but rather achieving a zero injury standard. A “complete” eye protection program goes beyond eyewear and incorporates all of the above elements.