Sight is one of the most important senses that humans have. The ability to see allows us to navigate through our environment, interact with people, and impart change on the physical elements that surround us. We use vision to get ready in the morning, drive to work, interpret facial expressions, perform tasks at work, and avoid harmful situations. With such a large dependence on sight, it makes sense that we protect our eyes from anything that might rob us of this essential physiological element.
You do not have to work in an industrial environment to be at risk of vision loss. While occupational hazards can put you at significant risk of visual impairment, you may also be at risk from simple tasks such as mowing the lawn or working with power tools. Individuals who work in high risk environments are likely to be required to wear prescription safety glasses during work, but nobody is going to stand over your shoulder to make sure you wear safety glasses while performing work around the house. It is extremely important to take the initiative to make sure you are protecting your eyes during these types of activities.
There are a number of occupational hazards that might put you at risk for visual impairment. Some of these include excessive light exposure, chemical exposure, and exposure to physical objects that might turn into projectiles. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “thousands of people are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries that could have been prevented with the proper selection and use of eye and facial protection.” They estimate that the costs associated with these types of injuries exceed $300 million in lost production, medical expenses, and worker compensation.
OSHA works hard to make sure that employers adhere to strict standards for ensuring that employees who are exposed to chemical, environmental, radiological, and mechanical irritants use proper eye and facial protection. Part of protecting the vision of at-risk employees involves the use of prescription safety glasses. Industries of particular focus include those related to shipyards, longshoring, and construction. In addition to providing the proper protection devices, employers must administer educational events that emphasize the importance of wearing such devices.
The specifics of OSHA eye and facial protection standards can be found by clicking here. Of particular interest is the requirement that employers provide prescription safety glasses for those who require corrective lenses. OSHA also provides a resource for assessing and selecting the proper protective devices for your work environment. All employees are encouraged to familiarize themselves with potential hazards that their employer may not have made them aware of. Individuals are advised to apply the same standards to tasks that they may be performing at home or any other environment.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 2000 U.S. workers who experience job-related eye injury each day. They estimate that the majority of these injuries result from small objects or particles striking the eye. Examples of such objects include metal slivers, wood chips, dust, and cement chips. While there are specific industries that result in elevated risk, all employees should assess the likelihood that their vision might be impaired by their daily activities. The use of prescription safety glasses is the first step in preventing visual impairment.
Sight is very often taken for granted until something terrible happens that leaves someone visually impaired or even blind. The worst part about this type of vision impairment is that it probably could have been prevented by following precautionary measures such as the use of prescription safety glasses. Do not let yourself become the unfortunate victim of a life-changing eye incident, take care of your eyes and always make sure you are protecting them from environmental hazards!