What You Need to Know About Eye Safety
Author: Harry Watt Date Posted:23 February 2021
Work related eye injuries continue to put Aussies out of work and in hospital year after year, with the majority of incidents being easily preventable.
You guessed it, we need our eyes to see, and if we can't see we can't work. Experts say proper protective eyewear could prevent up to 90 percent of all eye injuries. In Australia, there are over 50,000 eye injuries each year, with a cost to people and businesses around $60 million.
So let's delve into the difference between regular glasses and safety glasses, and why it's important to wear the proper pair and not the ‘this’ll do’ pair.
Safety glasses have to follow a higher standard of impact resistance than regular eye glasses which applies to both the actual glass and the frame. The Majority of safety glasses in Australia are certified by an independent organisation. Certification means that the manufacturer is subject to an annual independent audit, ensuring that the safety requirements are being met.
You may have thought by now that the type of safety glasses you wear depend on the type of work environment you are in, and guess what, you are absolutely correct.
3 common types of eye safety equipment include safety glasses, safety goggles and safety shields (see below):
Small particles, dust, cement chips, slivers of metal, wood chips, you name it — frequently get kicked up in the course of day-to-day work, especially in workshops and construction. Without proper protection you are at risk of potentially irreversible damage.
Chemicals can strike fast — and they can also do so invisibly, critically harming skin and lungs even before physical symptoms appear.
Here are some of the most important symptoms of chemical hazards to take note of when working around them:
Below is an example of the damage an alkali chemical burn can cause to an eye.
Alright, so you’ve ignored the 3 ways to prevent eye injuries and have gone and done yourself a mischief, now what?
If you have sand, dirt or other small, similar particles in your eye
Having small particles like sand or dirt are not always cause for an emergency. We can usually rely on our eyes to flush these out, so it's worth seeing if the issue takes care of itself before moving on to more serious measures
Now, if you’ve gotten something more serious like glass, metal or plastics in your eye more serious treatment is likely to be necessary. If treated incorrectly, these objects can become embedded in the eye itself and cause more damage and irritation over time.
So, here’s an order of actions to take if you find yourself in an eye injury situation:
All eye injuries should be treated with caution. As tempting as it may be to give it a rub to satisfy that itch, take the time and treat it properly. One thing worth noting is that over the counter eye drops can sometime be more painful or make the injury worse - proper eye protection is a much better investment.
Clearly we are not doctors, nor officially certified to guide you on correct treatment options, but we definitely can advise you to go about it the proper way if you ever experience an eye injury. Always get help from a professional if you suspect a problem.