OSEA Safety Blog

Understanding and Preventing Workplace Eye Injuries

Thursday, March 21, 2024 Amanda Coniglio

Every day, thousands of workers face the risk of eye injuries while on the job, resulting in not only personal suffering but also significant financial burdens for employers and insurance providers. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these injuries cost over $924 million annually in workers’ compensation and nearly $4 billion in wage and productivity losses.

Understanding the Causes of Workplace Eye Injuries:

Several factors contribute to the prevalence of eye injuries in the workplace, including:
- Not wearing the proper eye protection.
- Wearing inadequate eye protection for the task at hand.
- Exposure to flying particles.
- Contact with hazardous chemicals.

Choosing the Right Equipment for Eye Protection:

To leesen the risk of eye injuries, it’s crucial to provide workers with the appropriate protective gear, such as:
- Safety Glasses: Designed to withstand impact from flying objects, they are essential for tasks involving mechanical work.
- Safety Goggles: Offering superior protection against various hazards including splashes, sparks, and dust, they are ideal for environments with higher risks.
- Helmets: Providing protection for both the head and neck, helmets are necessary for tasks involving intense light, heat, or chemical exposure.
- Face Shields: Offering extensive coverage against splashes, flying debris, and intense light, face shields should be worn in conjunction with safety glasses or goggles.
- Regular Maintenance: It’s imperative to ensure that eye protection fits well, remains clean, and undergoes daily inspections to detect any signs of wear or damage. Additionally, proper storage in closed containers helps prevent dust or moisture buildup.

Prioritizing Replacement Over Repair:

To maintain the effectiveness of eye protection gear, it’s essential to replace items that show signs of wear or damage, such as:
- Goggle straps that are knotted, twisted, or stretched out.
- Lenses that are too pitted or scratched to provide clear vision.

Preventing workplace eye injuries requires a combination of employee education, proper equipment selection, and regular maintenance protocols. By implementing these measures, employers can safeguard their workforce against the devastating consequences of eye injuries while also minimizing financial losses associated with compensation claims and reduced productivity. Ultimately, protecting vision is not just a matter of safety but also a wise investment in the well-being of both employees and businesses alike.


Bureau of Labor Statistics

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