Eye Protection: Preserve your Vision

Eye Protection: Preserve your Vision

This safety meeting will require some effort on your part!  I’m assigning everyone a homework task.  But don’t panic—this homework will be a piece of cake!  On your way home today is spend the evening observing the many beautiful things in this world!  For just one evening, stop taking your eyesight for granted!  Let me suggest the following activities.

As you leave the workplace today, look up, down and all around, observing the beauty around you. See the blue sky, the many shades of leaves in the trees, and the different birds that occupy them.  When you get home, watch your children play and notice how their eyes light up when Daddy or Mommy gets home.

Have you ever stopped to think how wonderful your eyesight really is?  Well, think about it.  For about two minutes, close your eyes completely and contemplate how life would be if you lost your eyesight!  That’s it—your homework is complete!  Did you envision how your life would change if you couldn’t see?  Did your thoughts include any of the following?

  1. When you and your family are on vacation, they will have to describe the scenery to you.
  2. You would have to be led wherever you want to go.
  3. Your spouse will have to describe the way your children’s eyes light up when they open their presents.
  4. No more leisurely activities such as hunting or fishing, watching movies or TV.
  5. No more driving the new truck you just bought.

Does this sound like something you want to experience?  I didn’t think so! Is there a way to prevent this from happening? You bet—wear your eye protection! It is estimated that 90% of eye injuries are preventable with the proper use of safety eyewear. What does this tell us? Many people do not wear proper eye protection!

Let’s examine a few operations that present eye hazards:

  1. Abrasive work like grinding, sanding, hammering, metalwork, and woodwork might cause pieces of the item being worked on to dislodge forcefully enough to reach the eyes;
  2. Painting, spraying, sanding, metal working, spot welding or any other process that may cause dust, fumes or tiny particulates to become airborne;
  3. Hot work such as electric welding, brazing and soldering can cause eye damage from ultraviolet, visible and infrared bands of the energy spectrum. Other work tasks that can bring exposure to heat are cutting with a torch, or operations around radiant energy or intense heat;
  4. Operations such as handling acids and caustics, mud additives, and hot metal casting and babbitting where gases, vapors, liquids or splashing metals are generated.
  5. Chemical activities can cause risk of direct splash to the eye or contact with chemical mists or gases from mixing, pouring, measuring and general use.
  6. Biological agents can affect the eye, such as viruses, bacteria or infectious materials like blood.
  7. Lasers pose a burn risk to the eye dependent on the laser wavelength.
  8. Fixed or attached objects can break loose. Chains, tree limbs, tools, pipes and dirt become hazards.
  9. Dust, mists, fumes, sparks, high heat, flying particles, power tools, extreme cold, molten metal, chemical splash (liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids)

Once you have determined the eye hazards, you need to select the best protection usage.  Safety eyewear comes in many different types and styles, from glasses with side shields to goggles and helmets.  Always use the right personal protection for the specific eye or face hazard.

Types of Protection

Safety Glasses. Impact-resistant lenses with side shields

Side shields. These protect against particles that might enter the eyes from the side. Side shields are made of wire mesh or plastic. Eyecup type side shields provide the best protection.

Goggles. Protect from impact, dust, and splashes.

Face Shields. Not for eye protection.  Use for face protection with chemicals or when grinding or chipping.  Other eye protection is required.

Welding Shields. Fitted with filtered lenses. Protect face & eyes from burns when welding, brazing, soldering and cutting.

Your eyesight is a precious gift. Please do not wait until it’s too late to come to your senses. If your work presents an exposure to eye hazards, wear your eye protection.