You should wear safety eyewear simply because they are the best defense against eye injuries. They protect your eyes from a myriad of potential hazards at work, home and outdoors. In a comprehensive way, safety eyewear saves businesses and workers a tremendous amount of time and money. And if this evidence isn’t convincing enough, the benefits also have a significant impact on overall, long-term eye health.
Safety Eyewear Is The Best Defense Against Eye Injuries
The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 1,000 eye injuries occur daily in the workplace.
In addition to workplace eye injuries;
Prevent Blindness America estimates that 125,000 eye injuries happen in the home every year. In addition over 40,000 sports-related eye injuries take place yearly. And these are just the reported injuries.
While the number of yearly eye injuries is startling, what’s more, eye-catching is that eye injuries are the most preventable cause of blindness! Even diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration don’t cause as many cases of blindness as eye injuries. In fact, numerous safety experts and medical professionals believe that 90% of all eye injuries are preventable by wearing appropriate safety eyewear.
Anne Sumers, MD, ophthalmologist and clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), notes how:
“very little effort” it takes “to protect yourself from on-the-job hazards that can cause blinding eye injuries.” As a result, she says, “We strongly advise workers and their employees not to let their guard down when it comes to eye protection.”
Many people do not heed such advice, unfortunately.
EHS Today reports that about 60% of eye injuries in the workplace happen to individuals not wearing any eye protection! The remaining 40% of eye injuries happen to those wearing the wrong kind of safety eyewear for the task at hand.
Additionally, the AAO says that 65% of individuals do not wear safety eyewear when working around the home.
These reports spell bad news since home-based injuries are increasing and nearing the yearly total for workplace eye injuries.
Even though, as ASOT President Ferenc Kuhn, MD, Ph.D., notes:
“Slipping on a pair of safety glasses is quick and easy,” many people often fail to do so. “Unfortunately,” Kuhn explains, “compared to other common-sense safety steps such as wearing seatbelts, using protective eyewear does not happen frequently enough.”
The best case scenario is that safety eyewear prevents an injury from happening in the first place. At a minimum, they almost always lessen the severity of an injury and prevent permanent eye damage. In the majority of cases, standard safety glasses provide ample protection against most hazards.
Workplaces Require Safety Eyewear
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is the agency of the DOL responsible for setting and enforcing protective workplace safety and health standards. Included in their standards are guidelines and requirements for selecting the best safety eyewear for virtually every workplace situation.
OSHA mandates the use of ANSI Z87.1 certified safety eyewear and also requires employers to provide the eye protection appropriate for the particular hazards involved with the current task. Employers who fail to do so are subject to fines ranging from around $12,500 to $125,000 for each instance.
The purpose of these standards and requirements by OSHA involves ensuring the safety of all employees in the work environment. Employers are responsible for providing safety eyewear whenever necessary to protect against hazards.
Safety Eyewear Protects Against a Myriad of Hazards
Hazards involve any potential danger or risk, which exist in every workplace as well as at home and during recreation. These threats include physical, chemical and biological hazards.
Eye Hazards exist in every workplace, but some jobs have a higher risk than others. According to the BLS, more than 40% of workplace eye injuries take place among craft workers (plumbers, repairers, carpenters, mechanics, etc.) and around 33% among equipment operators (assemblers, sanders, etc.). Of the total number of injuries, almost half took place in manufacturing and just over 20% happened in construction.
The BLS says that 70% of eye injuries in the workplace involve flying or falling objects or sparks while about 20% of workplace injuries involve contact with chemicals. Other causes of frequent eye injuries come from swinging objects like tree limbs, ropes, and chains as well as from tools other workers are using.
Eye Hazards Lurk At Home Too
Hazards also exist in the home with yard work, power tools, and chemicals being the top culprits. Common injuries from at-home hazards include metal or wood splinters when using power tools, flash injury when welding, foreign object or blunt force trauma during yard work, and chemical splash when cleaning. Even bungee cords and frying pans often cause eye injuries at home.
Using Protection Is Always A Good Idea
During recreation, the biggest culprits for eye injury are sports and fireworks. Basketball, water and pool activities, guns and baseball/softball cause the most sports-related injuries. Concerning fireworks, about 10,000 people receive treatment annually for fireworks-related injuries. Half of those injuries occur on the 4th of July holiday, and a third involve serious eye injuries.
Across the board, safety eyewear protects against serious injury from virtually every eye hazard. Wearing safety eyewear when risks are most prevalent goes a long way in preventing 90% of serious damage to eyes.
Protective eyewear includes safety glasses, goggles, face shields and side shields designed for specific activities. Proper safety eyewear protects wearers from most hazards. Common hazards include chemicals, corneal flash burns, pollen, dust, and the blunt force of large objects.
A big key in safety eyewear protecting eyes against hazards involves taking all the potential dangers of a situation into account and wearing the appropriate eyewear. In the workplace, this means having and following recommendations of safety experts at OSHA as well as performing regular safety audits. At home, it involves at a minimum wearing standard safety eyewear for yard work, house cleaning and whenever working with power tools. And during recreation, it means using what experts recommend for specific activities.
Though hazards sometimes present themselves unexpectedly, a person can be sufficiently equipped for when they are most likely to occur. Besides, with the many choices in safety eyewear available, increasing the chances of a positive outcome from an accident has never been easier.
Preventing Eye Injuries Saves Time and Money
Wearing protective eyewear on a regular basis, especially when the potential hazards are most likely to cause injury, saves hundreds of thousands of dollars by both preventing and lessening the severity of injuries. OSHA estimates the yearly cost of occupational eye injuries to be about $300 million, and these costs include medical expenses from doctor visits, treatments, and surgery, compensation for damage or loss sustained and at least partial reimbursement for lost wages. There are often legal costs involved as well.
Then there are the indirect costs involved, some of which just cannot be quantified. They include pain and suffering of the employee, customer quality issues, loss of business, overtime costs, time and interruptions in productivity. Also, there are often additional costs associated with the impact on overall employee morale because of the accident.
Safety eyewear, most costing just a few dollars, are a cost-effective solution for comprehensive eye protection. Employees who consistently wear safety glasses prevents having to pay the rising costs associated with eye injuries. Safety eyewear saves both time and money by preventing many injuries from happening in the first place. They also reduce the severity of the injuries that do occur.
The Benefits of Safety Eyewear Go Beyond Safety
The choices in safety eyewear abound with various frame styles and lens colors. Safety eyewear exists for everyone from motorcycle riders and athletes to construction workers and welders. While they can prevent the majority of eye injuries, the benefits of safety eyewear go beyond protection from everyday hazards.
With the right lens choice, safety eyewear can enhance vision and help a person see clearly. Lens options ranging from anti-fog, polarized to a variety of lens tints, increase comfort and convenience for different conditions.
Most safety eyewear shields eyes from the harmful rays of the sun. Today’s polycarbonate lenses provide 99% protection from harmful UV-A and UV-B rays. This feature serves as a significant tool in the prevention of eye illness and disease caused by long-term exposure to the sun. Adverse effects of the sun on eyes includes cataracts, macular degeneration, benign eye growths and skin cancer. Ultraviolet Awareness is a definite key concerning long-term eye health.
Another way safety eyewear goes beyond protecting eyes from hazards comes from new research involving specific health challenges. This new research shows:
- How Blue Blocker Eyewear Might Help Night Shift Workers Sleep Better.
- The Benefits of Copper, Orange, Yellow And Brown Lens Tints in aiding sleeping problems, bipolar disorder, and macular degeneration.
- How Computer Safety Glasses and digital eyewear help prevent computer vision syndrome (CVS).
Don’t Forget The Kids
Consistently wearing safety eyewear sets a healthy example for children, one of the biggest victim groups for eye injuries. Not only do Children Need Eye Protection, but setting the example will greatly reduce the risk of an eye injury. As children grow up, they will use these important skills, making their transition into the workforce easier and safer.
Poor fashion and discomfort are no longer valid excuses for not wearing protective eyewear. Today’s established safety standards, expert advice and the variety of brands make choosing your safety eyewear easier than ever.
Considering all the facts, there’s simply no good excuse for not wearing safety eyewear. It doesn’t matter if you’re at work, home or outdoors, you should always protect your vision. The bottom line is your eyesight irreplaceable, and the best way to preserve your vision is to safeguard it.
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