Use protective eyewear to avoid injury at work

If you’re exposed to eye hazards at work, such as tools, flying objects, chemicals, and radiation, you’re at risk of injury. In fact, 700,000 Americans will injure their eyes at work each year. And that adds up to an estimated $300 million lost in production time, medical expenses, and workers’ compensation insurance.

The good news is that 90 percent of all injuries are preventable with the proper eyewear.

Make sure employees know the expected hazards of the job, as well as what eyewear offers the best protection for their roles. Also, require employees or anyone passing through an area with potential eye hazards to use the appropriate eyewear.

Safety glasses 
These function like normal eyewear except the lenses are very tough. Choose a pair imprinted with American National Standards Institute ANSI Z87 or Z87+ on the frame to show they meet federal and state regulatory requirements. Also, select glasses equipped with side shields. They can be ordered with prescription safety lenses, or designed to wrap entirely around regular prescription eyewear.

Safety goggles 
Similar to safety glasses, these have impact resistance and fit tight against the face to protect against foreign objects coming from all different directions (common in grinding operations). Goggles can have direct or indirect ventilation depending on the hazard. Indirect ventilation is used around hazardous chemicals for additional protection against splashes.

Shields and helmets 
Face shields and helmets alone are not true protective eyewear — they should be used in addition to other protection. Full-face shields often are used when glare, chemicals, or heat are involved. Helmets are used around molten materials or welding, and may be equipped with special lenses to block UV radiation.

Sunglasses and tinted lenses 
Excessive exposure to sun can lead to the early formation of cataracts. Most safety glasses and goggles are available in tints and reflective coatings that protect outdoor workers from harmful UV rays. They should wrap around the face to give the eyes side protection.

Find more information from OSHA or Prevent Blindness America.

*Statistics from Prevent Blindness America and Bureau of Labor Statistics