"Workplace safety – eye protection and safety glasses."October 16, 2009 by Mike Strawbridge
The most common form of eye protection is safety glasses. I have always hated wearing safety glasses myself. I notice that people who have well fitted prescription safety glasses tend to wear theirs without compliant. I think that is because they can see better with their glasses on that with them off. I am the opposite however. I can see better without my safety glasses so I hate wearing them.
So how do you protect the eyes of people like me who are going to avoid wearing their safety glasses if they can get away with it?
First you can work to eliminate the hazards. Why do you allow things that could potentially damage someone’s eye to be flying around in the first place. Look to engineering solutions to change your process so that potential hazards are eliminated.
Also look at your work procedures. Is there another way of doing this tasks that eliminates the exposure to potential eye injury?
If the source of the danger cannot be eliminated, look into ways to effectively guard the exposure. There are many ways to create see through guards and covers that would protect the employees for flying particles. The usual problem with these is that they get obscured with dirt and scratches and the vision through the guard is reduced until it becomes ineffective.
Using modern materials and self cleaning systems, vision through the guards can be maintained. You just have to use some creativity. A good strong preventive maintenance program helps too.
If chemical exposure is a problem look into using alternate chemical that are not eye irritants. Safety glasses actually provide very little protection to chemical splashes. If you are trying to protect employees from chemical hazards, fitted goggles or face shields are much more effective.
Of course eye wash stations cannot be overlooked in any situation where eye irritants are in the workplace. Eyewash station must be easily accessible and never allowed to be blocked. Be sure you can access the eye wash station with your eyes closed as a potential user will likely not be able to see.
Keep your eye wash station clean and flush them regularly. Water pipes that feed them may rust or corrode due to infrequent water flow, so make sure that the water source is clean and possibly filtered is debris in the water is a problem. Inspect and flush all your eye wash stations at least monthly.
Another was to help people like me who hate to wear safety glasses is to provide plenty of eye glass cleaning stations equipped with effective eye glass cleaning supplies. I have found I can tolerate clean glasses much better that smudged ones.
Eyesight is a precious resource and needs to be preserved with great care. Ensure that you have done all that you can do to help your employees see clearly.
Mike Strawbridge October 16, 2009
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