Eye Safety in the Construction Industry

December 29, 2017

Many hazards exist in the construction industry. If you work in the construction industry there is a higher risk that you will receive an eye injury, so it is important to make sure that you are taking the proper precaution to protect your vision. Incident rates drop greatly when workers wear the proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) including safety glasses or face shields anytime there is a risk of foreign objects contaminating the eye. Each year, eye injuries cost over 300 million dollars in medical expenses, workers compensation and lost production time.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, most eye injuries in the workplace occur when small objects strike the eye, scraping or cutting the cornea. In more extreme cases, permanent vision loss occurred after larger objects such as metal, staples or nails impaled the eye.

The two main reasons why eye accidents typically occur in the workplace are 1) the employee was not wearing the proper PPE 2) the employee was not wearing any eye protection at all. If you are an employer, you should set clear policies on when it is necessary to wear eye protection and other PPE in order to help avoid injury. If you are an employee who is unsure of when it is necessary to wear eye protection and other PPE, consult your supervisor immediately. According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) 90 percent of eye injuries would be prevented if the proper PPE had been worn at the time of incident. It is also important to maintain your eye protection to keep them from getting damaged, scratched or scuffed. It’s important to replace PPE when it is no longer in top notch condition.

Eye protection should be comfortable to wear while allowing the worker to see comfortably as well. Studies have found that workers are more likely to wear protective eyewear when they find them comfortable to wear for prolonged periods of time.

According to the American Optometric Association, the four things that you can do to help protect your eyes in the workplace are:

  1. Know the dangers
  2. Eliminate hazards
  3. Always use the proper eye protection for the job
  4. Keep your eye protection in good condition

If an eye injury does occur, seek medical attention as soon as possible.