Safety Tip of the Week – Eye Safety

Our eyes are one of our greatest assets. They give us the ability to see the world around us. If we do not protect our eyes from injuries while at work, we could easily lose that ability.

According to the CDC, there are an estimated 2,000 eye injuries every single day. These incidents cost employers over $300 million dollars per year.

It is important to eliminate or engineer out what could pose hazards to our eyes at work. Many hazards to our eyes on a worksite cannot be fully eliminated, so proper eye protection is also critical.

In just the blink of an eye, an incident can injure or even blind a worker who is not wearing proper protective eyewear.

The type of eye protection, whether safety glasses, goggles, or face shields, must meet the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). It must also be stamped with Z87.

In hazardous workplaces, street wear eyeglasses should only be worn in conjunction with ANSI- approved additional cover protection.

Common Hazards That Cause Eye Injuries on the Job:

  • Flying dust;
  • Flying debris;
  • Chemicals;
  • Blunt trauma to the eye; and
  • Burns due to UV exposure, such as welder’s flash.

Best Practices to Avoid Injuries to the Eyes:

  • Identify all the potential eye hazards in your work area and for your specific work tasks;
  • Ensure there are proper safeguards in place to prevent an eye injury. If there is a safeguard missing, stop the work task and correct the problem;
  • Eliminate or lessen the chance of getting something into your eye by avoiding being in the line of fire. One quick example is standing upwind of debris or dust blowing around the work area;
  • Always wear approved safety glasses, face shield, or goggles when needed. The type of PPE needed will depend on the work task. Three out of every five victims of eye injuries on the job were not wearing any eye protection;
  • If there are welding activities going on, wear proper eye protection and ensure there is a protective barrier in place to protect other employees in the area from UV exposure;
  • If you get something in your eye do not rub or scratch it. Rubbing the eye can cause scratching of the cornea resulting in injury. Find an eye wash station or saline bottle to rinse out the object; and
  • If you get a chemical in your eyes, remove your contacts if they are in and begin to rinse your eyes out.


Workers should wear safety eyewear whenever there is a chance of eye injury. In addition, anyone visiting or passing through areas that pose eye hazards should wear protective eyewear. Contact lens wearers must be especially careful and should always wear protective eyewear on site: dust and other particles can become lodged under the lens and can cause irritations or infections. Workers who work in the sun or use equipment that exposes them to ultraviolet radiation should also use appropriate eye protection.

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