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PPE: Eye Protection

January 2, 2018

From flying wood chips to molten metal, there are a thousand things on worksites that can fly at your face. Although it will make your pirate costume more authentic on Halloween, losing an eye can be detrimental for the other 364 days of the year. Sadly, thousands of people are blinded yearly from work related accidents. These accidents can be easily prevented by wearing proper face and eye protection.

Providing the proper PPE for workers is an important responsibility of employers. According to OSHA, employers need to select and provide proper eye protection for their employees. When considering which eye/face wear to select, a lot of factors need to be considered: the specific hazards, work being done, conditions of the workplace, even the aesthetics of the head gear.

The beginning of the selection process will probably start by assessing the hazard that is being presented to the worker. Approved safety glasses can protect against most flying debris, if it isn't at high velocity, but might not be enough to protect against chemical splash or radiation, for example. There is not universal protection from all hazards. Face shields with wire-screen windows will offer great protection against moderate impact, but will not offer adequate protection against high heat or liquid chemicals.

Eye protection is an essential part of proper PPE.

What Kind of Work is being Done?

Some types of work require very specific protection. The most common of these is welding, which requires the worker to wear special face shields that block the intense radiant light from the weld. Welders need to wear regular safety glasses under these shields. Workers who use abrasive wheels need to not only wear safety glasses but also full face shields when using the grinder. Both the work and hazards that accompany it should be the foundation for the selection of eye and face protection.

What are the Working Conditions?

The conditions of the worksite should always come under consideration. For example, if work is outside, you might consider tinted eyewear to protect against the sun, however; this can decrease the visibility in low light conditions. If the workplace is dirty or dusty, this can lead to wear on the safety equipment. If the lenses become dirty or grimy, it will decrease the workers visibility, and increase the risk of an accident. More so, workers will be less willing to wear glasses that decrease visibility leading them to take them off and leave their eyes unprotected.

Safety Before the Bottom Line

One mistake that employers will make, is to buy the cheapest glasses they can. Though they might meet regulations, these are often uncomfortable, heavy, and look terrible. Under these conditions, workers are much less willing to wear their PPE. This will demotivate workers, and often cause them to not wear it, leaving their eyes and face unprotected. By spending a little extra money, you help motivate your employees to stay safe.

Other factors may be present in your job site, and some people, particularly with prescription glasses, may need special attention. Taking the extra time and spending a little more money can go a long way in keeping your workers safe, and may ultimately save you in the long run. And if you really want to be a pirate, get a parrot instead. Good luck and stay safe.

For safety training, including PPE Safety, visit us at www.hardhattraining.com.

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