#YHSafetyTips - Eye Safety

Posted by Ashley Bechtel in #YHSafetyTips, May 03, 2017

Protecting your eyes from punctures, abrasions, and contusions is as simple as wearing eye protection. It is essential that you wear the correct type to prevent damage. After your eyesight has been damaged, it is too late to repair any damage.

Types of Eye Protection

There are several different types of eye protection, all are meant for specific circumstances. Choose carefully, your eyesight may depend on it!

Safety Spectacles

Safety Spectacles are intended for when you are working with impact hazards such as flying fragments, objects, large chips, and particles. OSHA requires you to wear safety spectacles with side shields if there are flying objects.

These types of safety glasses have lenses - they can be prescription or non-prescription. They can be clear, filtered, or tinted, and can include removable lenses. The frames must fit comfortably to provide the necessary protection. They come in a variety of types and can fit around or over the ear and are made of either metal or plastic. If your safety spectacles require side shields, they can be permanent or removable, solid or ventilated, and tinted or clear.

Safety Goggles

Safety goggles are intended to shield the wearer’s eyes from impact hazards, and will fit the face immediately surrounding the eyes to form a protective seal around the eyes.

These can have removable lenses, prescription lenses or non-prescription lenses, are available in frames that can fit over your current corrective glasses without disturbing the adjustment. They are also available in ventilated or non-ventilated versions.

Face Shields

Face shields are intended to protect the entire face, or portions of it from impact hazards such as flying fragments, objects, large chips, and particles. Face shields do not protect from impact hazards when worn alone. You should combine face shields with some form of Safety Goggles or Safety Spectacles.

There are two main types of Face Shields: Windows and Headgear. Windows extended from the brow to below the chin and across the entire width of the face. They can have removable or lift-front designs. Headgear supports the window shield and is secures the device to the head.

To read more about the types of eye protection listed above, visit OSHA’s webpage here.

Contact Lenses

If you wear contact lenses, your employer or your doctor may advise that you wear glasses instead. Sometimes, having contacts in your eye can increase your risk of damaging your eyes. The American Optometric Association (AOA) has released the following statement for the use of contact lenses in industrial environments:

“Contact lenses may be worn in some hazardous environments with appropriate covering safety eyewear. Contact lenses of themselves do not provide eye protection in the industrial sense.”

When deciding whether or not to wear your contacts to work, consider the following:

  • Is there an actual hazard?
  • Does the wearing of contact lenses place the eye at a greater risk than a naked eye?
  • Does the removal of the contact lens increase the risk to the eye, the wearer or co-workers?
  • Is the risk different for various contact lens materials and designs?
  • Are there other risks to the wearer or co-workers?
  • Do contact lenses decrease the efficacy of other safety strategies?

To find out more about what the AOA has to say about contacts, you can visit their page here.

Check back next week when we discuss how to evacuate safely and efficiently when it is needed.

Did you miss last week's post on summer safety? Check it out here.

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