According to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, 700 Canadian workers experience work-related eye injuries each day. These injuries can stem from a variety of hazards—including projectiles (e.g., dust, metal or wood), chemicals, radiation, blood-borne pathogens and even electronic devices.
Nevertheless, eye doctors confirm that utilizing proper safety precautions can help prevent or reduce the severity of 90 per cent of work-related eye injuries. With this in mind, consider the following guidance for protecting your eyes at work and avoiding painful injuries:
- Know the risks—Make sure you are fully aware of any eye-related hazards within your workplace. Knowing the potential dangers that come with your specific job responsibilities is important to help you understand how to reduce your unique risks.
- Utilize proper protection—Be sure to wear adequate eye protection for the task or hazard at hand. Potential protective eyewear options include safety glasses, goggles, face shields and helmets. Regardless of which form of protective eyewear is required, ensure you know how to properly put on, use, store and maintain it. Inform your supervisor if your eye protection gets lost or damaged.
- Follow workplace safety measures—Apart from wearing eye protection, it’s also crucial to follow any workplace policies and procedures regarding eye safety. This includes using machine guards or any other engineering controls.
- Avoid eye strain—Especially if you work in an office setting and utilize electronic devices throughout the day, be sure to take routine breaks away from the screen to avoid digital eye strain.
- Be prepared—If you or a co-worker experiences an eye-related injury on the job, inform your supervisor and seek medical attention immediately.
If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding eye safety at work, consult your supervisor.