Health and safety in the workplace is big business in modern society, with people more aware than ever of an employers’ obligation to look after their employees, and businesses wary of an increasingly litigious culture.
As a result, there are an incredible number of rules and regulations in place to ensure employees’ safety, both physically and in terms of their mental health and wellbeing. However, one area where regulations are often overlooked is eye safety, with team members often taking unnecessary risks with their vision. In this post we’ll look at some of the basics of eye safety, helping you to ensure employees are properly protecting their vision during the working day.
- Be aware of the common causes of eye injury
When it comes to the working environment, the majority of injuries are caused by dust and debris, but there are numerous potential causes in any modern workplace:
- Particles in the air (dust, sand, sparks, etc.)
- Flying objects (metal, glass, wood, etc.)
- UV radiation
- Chemicals (oil, acid, etc.)
Being able to understand and highlight potential dangers in your own work environment is the first step to ensuring eye safety at work. Once you highlight potential dangers you can take steps to mitigate risk, from ensuring proper eye protection is worn to reducing environmental hazards.
- Ensure employees have access to adequate eye protection
In many cases, the appropriate eyewear is enough to ensure your employees are properly protecting their eyes – in fact, most risk assessment experts agree that 90% of all serious eye injuries could be prevented or reduced in severity simply by taking simple precautions such as protective eyewear.
As with anything, what is ‘appropriate’ will depend on the situation, for example a pair of polarized Tom Ford glasses may protect a team member from UV radiation while they’re working outside, but it certainly wouldn’t be adequate for someone welding metal. Generally, education and protocols are the best way to ensure you – and your employees – know what constitutes appropriate protective eyewear.
You should also ensure that all eyewear, goggles and glasses are regularly and adequately maintained, ensuring they are fit for purpose and will effectively protect your employees from eye injuries.
In most cases, educating your workforce and management will ensure that proper protocols are in place, understood and consistently implemented. Similarly, team members should all be shown what to do in case of an emergency, so if the worst should happen, whoever is on the scene will be able to limit the damage and alert the correct emergency services, hopefully minimizing the severity of any injuries.