Thousands of Americans are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries that could have been prevented with the proper selection and use of eye and face protection.
Eye injuries alone cost more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses and worker compensation.
OSHA requires employers to ensure the safety of all employees in the work environment. Eye and face protection must be provided whenever necessary to protect against chemical, environmental, radiological or mechanical irritants and hazards.
Eye and face protection is addressed in specific standards for the general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring and the construction industry.
It is impossible to predict when and where an eye incident might occur, but it can happen literally in the blink of an eye, injuring or even blinding a worker who's not wearing proper protection.
It's an employer's responsibility to identify the eye safety hazards at the workplace, and then provide workers with the best protection against them.
Along with training on how and when to use eye protection equipment, workers should learn about cleaning, storing and replacing equipment.
In most cases, workplace eye injuries can be avoided if employees have been trained to know when and what eye protection equipment should be worn - and what to do in case of an eye injury.
Below are some common causes of eye injuries, with suggested first aid responses. In all cases, professional medical attention should be sought as soon as possible after taking initial first aid measures.
Eye injury responses
Take safety precautions
The best solution for when employees are doing any work that could result in an eye injury is to wear proper eye protection. But accidents happen and your workers should know what to do if they suffer an eye injury.