Every day an estimated 1,000 eye injuries occur in American workplaces.
The financial cost of these injuries is enormous -- more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses, and workers compensation. No dollar figure can adequately reflect the personal toll these accidents take on the injured workers.
Take a moment to think about possible eye hazards at your workplace. A survey by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of about 1,000 minor eye injuries reveals how and why many on-the-job accidents occur.
Protective eyeglasses are made with safety frames, tempered glass or plastic lenses, temples and side shields which provide eye protection from moderate impact and particles encountered in job tasks such as carpentry, woodworking, grinding, scaling, etc. Safety glasses are also available in prescription form for those persons who need corrective lenses.
Vinyl framed goggles of soft pliable body design provide adequate eye protection from many hazards. These goggles are available with clear or tinted lenses, perforated, port vented, or non-vented frames. Single lens goggles provide similar protection to spectacles and may be worn in combination with spectacles or corrective lenses to ensure protection along with proper vision.
Welders goggles provide protection from sparking, scaling, or splashing metals and harmful light rays. Lenses are impact resistant and are available in graduated shades of filtration. Chipper/Grinder goggles provide eye protection from flying particles. The dual protective eye cups house impact resistant clear lenses with individual cover plates.
These normally consist of an adjustable headgear and face shield of tinted/transparent acetate or polycarbonate materials, or wire screen. Face shields are available in various sizes, tensile strength, impact/heat resistance and light ray filtering capacity.
Face shields will be used in operations when the entire face needs protection and should be worn to protect eyes and face against flying particles, metal sparks, and chemical/biological splash.
These shield assemblies consist of:
These shields will be provided to protect workers' eyes and face from infrared or radiant light burns, flying sparks, metal spatter, and slag chips encountered during:
The employer must ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.
The employer must ensure that each affected employee uses eye protection that provides side protection when there is a hazard from flying objects. Detachable side protectors (e.g. clip-on or slide-on side shields) meeting the pertinent requirements of the PPE standard are acceptable.
The employer must ensure that each affected employee who wears prescription lenses while engaged in operations that involve eye hazards wears eye protection that incorporates the prescription in its design, or wears eye protection that can be worn over the prescription lenses without disturbing the proper position of the prescription lenses or the protective lenses.
The employer must ensure that each affected employee uses equipment with filter lenses that have a shade number appropriate for the work being performed for protection from injurious light radiation.
Protective eye and face devices purchased after July 5, 1994 must comply with any of the last three national consensus standards, e.g., ANSI Z87.1-1989, ANSI Z87.1-2003, or ANSI Z87.1-2010 "American National Standard Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection."
Eye and face protective devices purchased before July 5, 1994 must comply with the ANSI "USA standard for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection," Z87.1-1968, or must be demonstrated by the employer to be equally effective.
Eye and face PPE must be distinctly marked to facilitate identification of the manufacturer.
Employees whose occupation or assignment requires exposure to laser beams should be furnished laser safety goggles which will protect for the specific wavelength of the laser and be of optical density adequate for the energy involved.
Emergency eyewash facilities, such as in the photo to the right, meeting the requirements of ANSI Z358.1-2009 must be provided in all areas where the eyes of any employee may be exposed to corrosive materials. All such emergency facilities will be located where they are easily accessible in an emergency.
Check out this short audio clip by Dan Clark of the theSafetyBrief.com. Dan Clark covers first aid for four types of eye injuries: Specks of debris in the eyes, chemical exposures and burns, flying or falling object impacts and cuts or punctures.
Some occupations (not a complete list) for which eye protection should be routinely considered are: carpenters, electricians, machinists, mechanics and repairers, millwrights, plumbers and pipe fitters, sheet metal workers and tinsmiths, assemblers, sanders, grinding machine operators, lathe and milling machine operators, sawyers, welders, laborers, chemical process operators and handlers, and timber cutting and logging workers.
The following chart provides general guidance for the proper selection of eye and face protection to protect against hazards associated with the listed hazard "source" operations.
|Source||Assessment of Hazard||Protection|
|IMPACT - Chipping, grinding, machining, drilling, chiseling, riveting, sanding, etc.||Flying fragments, objects, large chips, particles, sand, dirt, etc.||Spectacles with side protection, goggles, face shields.
For severe exposure, use face shield over primary eye protection.
|HEAT - Furnace operations, pouring, casting, hot dipping, and welding.||Hot sparks
Splash from molten metals
High temperature exposure
|Face shields, goggles, spectacles with side protection. For severe exposure use face shield.
Face shields, reflective face shields.
Screen face shields, reflective face shields.
|CHEMICALS - Acid and chemicals handling||Splash
|Goggles, eyecup and cover types. For severe exposure, use face shield over primary eye protection
|DUST - Woodworking, buffing, general dusty conditions||Nuisance dust||Goggles, eyecup and cover types.|
|LIGHT and/or RADIATION
Welding - electric arc
Welding - gas
Cutting, torch brazing, torch soldering
Welding helmets or welding shields. Typical shades: 10-14
Welding goggles or welding face shield. Typical shades: gas welding 4-8, cutting 3-6, brazing 3-4
Spectacles or welding face shield. Typical shades: 1.5-3
Spectacles with shaded or special-purpose lenses, as suitable.
Notes to Eye and Face Protection Selection Chart:
(1) Care should be taken to recognize the possibility of multiple and simultaneous exposure to a variety of hazards. Adequate protection against the highest level of each of the hazards should be provided. Protective devices do not provide unlimited protection.
(2) Operations involving heat may also involve light radiation. As required by the standard, protection from both hazards must be provided.
(3) Face shields should only be worn over primary eye protection (spectacles or goggles).
(4) As required by the standard, filter lenses must meet the requirements for shade designations in 1910.133(a)(5). Tinted and shaded lenses are not filter lenses unless they are marked or identified as such.
(5) As required by the standard, persons whose vision requires the use of prescription (Rx) lenses must wear either protective devices fitted with prescription (Rx) lenses or protective devices designed to be worn over regular prescription (Rx) eyewear.
(6) Wearers of contact lenses must also wear appropriate eye and face protection devices in a hazardous environment. It should be recognized that dusty and/or chemical environments may represent an additional hazard to contact lens wearers.
(7) Caution should be exercised in the use of metal frame protective devices in electrical hazard areas.
(8) Atmospheric conditions and the restricted ventilation of the protector can cause lenses to fog. Frequent cleansing may be necessary.
(9) Welding helmets or face shields should be used only over primary eye protection (spectacles or goggles).
(10) Non-side shield spectacles are available for frontal protection only, but are not acceptable eye protection for the sources and operations listed for "impact."
(11) Ventilation should be adequate, but well protected from splash entry. Eye and face protection should be designed and used so that it provides both adequate ventilation and protects the wearer from splash entry.
(12) Protection from light radiation is directly related to filter lens density. See note (4) . Select the darkest shade that allows task performance.
Wow, wasn't that interesting :-). Well, time for the module quiz.
According to Prevent Blindness America, 1,000 eye injuries occur each day. Of these, 16% take place at the worksite. Watch this Pursue Compliance video on the importance of effective eye protection.
Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.
Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.