NIOSH reports about 2,000 U.S. workers sustain job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment each DAY. That’s more than every person in Seattle each year sustaining an eye injury! However, safety experts and eye doctors believe the right eye protection could have lessened the severity or even prevented 90% of these eye injuries.
Simply using the proper eye protection on the job could prevent thousands of 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.
Two major reasons workers experience eye injuries on the job are because they were:
- Not wearing eye protection, or
- Wearing the wrong kind of protection for the job.
A Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey of workers who suffered eye injuries revealed that nearly three out of five were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident. These workers most often reported that they believed protection was not required for the situation.
OSHA requires the use of eye and face protection whenever there is a reasonable probability of injury that could be prevented by such equipment. Personal protective eyewear, 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 upon the type of hazard, the circumstances of exposure, other protective equipment used, and individual vision needs.