Are You Aware?

Eye injuries are one of the most common injuries a hazardous workplace employer can expect. On average, over 2000 eye injuries occur each day with 10-20% of those resulting in permanent vision loss or damage. One in ten workers will miss work due to an eye injury sustained on the job. Nearly one-third of these injuries require treatment from an emergency room or hospital.

According to the American Optometric Association the most common eye injuries at work are “chemicals or foreign objects in the eye and cuts or scrapes on the cornea”.

Other common eye injuries on the jobsite include:

  • Penetration from flying objects that often causes permanent damage
  • Burns sustained from dealing with chemical or thermal elements

Unfortunately, many employees sustain injury because they wore no eye protection or their protective gear was unsuited to the situation.

Are You Prepared?

Provide Protective Eye Equipment

It is a requirement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that workers use eye and face protection when there is “reasonable probability of injury”. Providing protective gear is a proactive step toward preventing injury.

Require Workers to Wear the Correct Gear
  • Safety Glasses with side shields should be worn in areas experiencing particles, flying objects, or heavy dust.
  • Goggles must be worn when working with chemicals.
  • Special purpose equipment (i.e. safety glasses, face shield, or helmets) designed for specific tasks needs to be worn during work such as welding, laser usage, or fiber optics.
  • Full-face respirators also provide protection for eyes and should be worn in certain situations involving dangerous chemicals, radiation, or fumes.
Know what is required for your specific jobsite

Side shield placed over conventional glasses DOES NOT provide OSHA standard protection for most work environments. Anyone passing through a jobsite where eye hazards are present should also wear appropriate protective gear.

Conduct an On-Site Eye Hazard Assessment
  • Assess your jobsite for the following hazards:
    • Flying Objects (can include nails, wood chips, particles of metal or glass, large equipment that could cause blunt force trauma)
    • Chemical usage that could spray, splatter, or produce dangerous fumes. This includes industrial cleaners or cleaning products.
    • Thermal heat producing equipment such as welding irons.
    • Primary or secondary radiation producers.
Eliminate Workplace Eye Hazards if Able

If your jobsite contains hazards not necessary to production, practice elimination and prevention. This will protect your employees and you from dangerous eye injuries. This could be as simple as a daily sweep to prevent dust accumulation or the usage of work screens, machine guarding, and other engineering controls.

The Berkley Industrial Comp Difference

At Berkley Industrial Comp, we know and understand the risks involved in your industry. We have created a team known as R.A.M.P. (Risk Assessment, Management and Prevention). This expert team is comprised of former miners, engineers and technicians across the fields we serve. This team is qualified to assist you in your hazardous risk assessment. Above all, we are committed to preventing workplace injury.

However, we understand despite all our best efforts, injuries can occur. When your employee sustains an eye injury we offer quick and easy first report submission through our online portal. We guarantee a response within 24 hours of the report, so that the claim can be settled quickly and reasonably for all parties involved.

What’s Next?

We recommend you forward this list of potential eye hazards and their prevention steps to your jobsite supervisors. Expect their acknowledgement and a checklist for hazard assessment to be completed. Another good idea is to have them submit an inventory list of protective eye gear so you can determine if your workplace is meeting OSHA standards.

Finally, create a poster or flyer reminding workers of the importance of wearing protective eye gear. Not only are they protecting themselves from injury, they are protecting your company from claims resulting in loss of revenue and time.

References: https://www.preventblindness.org/eye-safety-work, https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/eye/default.html

Berkley Industrial Comp is pleased to share this material with its customers. Please note, however, that nothing in this document should be construed as legal advice or the provision of professional consulting services. This material is for general informational purposes only, and while reasonable care has been utilized in compiling this information, no warranty or representation is made as to accuracy or completeness.