NIOSH Reporting on Eye Safety at Work

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health  (NIOSH) says that eye injuries due to lack of eye safety at work are very common. Everyday in the United States around 2,00 workers will sustain job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment. Experts and doctors believe that wearing the correct eye protection will and can prevent and lessen the severity of 90% of these injuries

Common Eye Injuries

Common eye injuries that occur at work include splashes with grease and chemicals, steam burns, ultraviolet and infrared radiation exposures and debris from things like wood chips or metal particles.  Such things can injure the cornea with scrapes and cuts. That’s just a few!

Eye Diseases

Risk of infectious eye diseases occur too! Janitors, healthcare workers, laboratory staff are just some of the workers affected by the risk of infectious eye diseases. They can occur through direct contact with infectious diseases as eye splashes or droplets transmitted through the mucous membranes. Or through coughing, sneezing and wiping eyes with contaminated fingers or other objects.

Most Common Causes

Workers experience eye injuries on the job for two major reasons:

  1. They were not wearing eye protection.
  2. They were wearing the wrong kind of protection for the job.

A Bureau of Labor Statistics 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 Standards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires workers to use 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 necessary eye protection depends upon the type of hazard, the circumstances of exposure, other protective equipment used and individual vision needs.

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