April 2017 – April is Eye Safety Month

By John Howell,

Toolbox Talks are designed to promote discussions about safety.

April Is Eye Safety Month

Key Points

  • About 2000 eye injuries occur every day at work in the United States
  • Construction workers have one of the highest eye injury rates.
  • Particles of dust, metal, wood, slag, drywall, and cement are the most common source of eye injury to carpenters.
  • Even “minor” eye injuries can cause life-long vision problems and suffering. Even a simple scratch from saw dust can cause corneal erosion that is recurrently painful.
  • Hammering on metal which gives off metal slivers and the rebounding of the ordinary nail are two of the most common causes of vision lost in construction workers.

Potential Eye Hazard Examples

  • Hammering, grinding, sanding and masonry work that may produce particles.
  • Handling chemicals may lead to splashes in the eye.
  • Wet or powered cement in the eye can cause a chemical burn.
  • Dusty or windy conditions can lead to particles in the eye.
  • Eye injuries can result from simply passing through an area where work is being performed.

Eye Safety Strategy to Reduce Eye Hazards

  • Use engineering controls such as machine guards that prevent the escape of particles.
  • Use administrative controls such as making certain areas off limits unless that is your work assignment area.
  • Use the proper protective eyewear.
  • The safety eyewear must have “Z87” marked on the frame.
  • Many eye injuries have occurred because there was not adequate side protection, proper fit, or particles fell from above such as drilling overhead.
  • Safety glasses are commonly used as protection against impact hazards, hammering, sawing and drilling.
  • Goggles are used for higher impact protection, greater particle protection and chemical splashes.
  • Common tasks that require googles are chipping, grinding, masonry work, pouring cement and working with chemicals.

Describe Your Eye Safety Policy

  • When must you wear safety eye protection?
  • What are the enforcement processes?
  • How and where do you get your safety glasses?
  • How do you get replacements?


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