Vision Wellness At Workplace: How to Keep your Eyes Safe at Work
Each day, employees are encountered with job-related eye injuries that require proper care and attention from a doctor or eye care professional. Doctors, as well as workplace safety experts, believe that the two main reasons behind employees experiencing eye injuries are either because they aren’t using the correct form of eye protection or they don’t wear anything to protect their eyes.
In an effort towards educating employees and their corporations regarding the importance of vision health, including various safety tips regarding how to avoid eye accidents that are vision-threatening, Prevent Blindness America (PBA) has declared the month of March as “Workplace Vision Wellness Month”.
Types of Eye Injuries
Possible eye hazards at work involve different projectiles such as chemical fumes and splashes, dust, concrete, radiation from visible light, metal wood and other particles, ultraviolet radiation, heat, infrared or lasers.
High-risk occupations that are more prone to eye injuries include manufacturing, construction, plumbing, mining, electrical work, auto repair, carpentry, welding, and maintenance.
Common Causes of Eye Injuries at Workplace
- Flying objects (bits of metal, glass)
- Harmful radiation
A doctor or qualified eye care professional can definitely help you estimate possible eye hazards that can happen at work and decide the optimal variety of eye safety that you will require.
At times the working conditions have multiple levels of danger and determining proper eye protection should consider all potential risks.
People working with chemicals must wear goggles, and if you work somewhere in an area where you might encounter airborne dust or objects, you must use safety glasses that have shields along their sides too.
Operating near hazardous radiation when using lasers, welding, or fiber optics require the usage of special-purpose glasses for safety, helmets, and goggles or face shields designed especially for what you will be doing.
Protection with Screens
Using mobile devices like smartphones or working with computers for long hours can be unsafe for your eyes. All of this time spent looking constantly at the screen can result in computer vision syndrome.
Computer vision syndrome is a group of vision and eye and related problems that occur from prolonged exposure to the screens and its symptoms can range from physical fatigue or eye twitching.
Tips to avoid excessive eye strain and visual discomfort while working on the computer
1. The 20/20/20 Rule
Build a healthier workplace with the 20-20-20 rule, it will give your eyes the periodic rest it requires. With the gap of at least every 20 minutes, look at something which is at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If you’re using a mobile device, make sure that the font size is bigger so you can use it at a distance and it will be gentler for your eyes.
2. Maintain the brightness
Keep a watch at the brightness of your screen, and make sure that the resolution is not too dim and too bright and position your monitor just below your eye level to reduce any kind of pressure on your eyes. You can also consider getting yourself a pair of computer glasses.
3. Remember to blink
When working on any electronic device or a computer for an elongated time, you automatically tend to blink less. It’s essential that you do remember to blink your eyes because blinking helps in keeping your eyes moist as well as preventing the occurrence of dry eye.
4. Regular eye exams
The first step in stopping computer vision syndrome is to register yourself for a routine eye examination with your eye specialist or doctor. Regular examination of the eye is a great way to keep a check on your eye health. Be certain to tell your eye doctor if you’re using electronic devices in your daily routine at work.
5. Computer eyewear
If you visit your eye doctor to get your eye health checked, your doctor may be able to prescribe you the eyewear that is specifically meant for computer use. This eyewear can help ease the eye strain while you’re using electronic devices.
6. Take mini breaks
It is advisable to take short and frequent breaks while you’re working on your computer. Get up from your seat, stretch your muscles, and walk around, and avoid looking at any form of screens, give your eyes an appropriate rest time.
Eye safety tips for workers in different industries
Laboratories & Chemical Industry
The soft tissue of eyes is vulnerable to many chemicals. Such chemical injuries are likely to happen by alkalis, acids, cleaning agents and strong solvents and that are often used in a variety of settings. People working in laboratories and chemical industries must wear safety glasses with polycarbonate lenses. Employers must offer proper eye protection for the employees working with chemicals.
People doing electrical work where there is any potential risk of arc flash must wear Personal Protective Equipment. Employers must make sure that employees have the right kind of equipment for eye safety while working in dangerous conditions.
Eye injuries happen in the mining industry due to a variety of reasons such as injury from flying objects, improper fit or incorrect choice of eye-wear or due to lack of awareness about the potential risk. Employes can ensure eye safety in the mining industry by offering high quality if eye protections, and by regularly examining whether the eye protection measures they are following are adequate according to circumstances.
In the manufacturing industry, the majority of eye injuries at workplace are caused due to small objects or particles such as metal, wood chips, slivers, or dust. There is also a risk of eye injury due to harmful chemicals from cleaning or manufacturing processes.
For the eye safety of employees in this industry, employers must provide proper education and offer personal protective equipment (PPE) to the employees. These types of equipment include safety glasses; hybrid eye safety products, goggles, face shields, welding helmets, full-face respirators etc.
Workplace eye safety recommendations to employers?
Employers must take a few necessary steps to make the environment at work as safe as possible for their employees. This includes:
- Carrying out an assessment of eye hazard at workplace.
- Reducing and removing eye hazards wherever possible.
- Offering proper safety eyewear and making it mandatory for employees to wear it.
- Assuring proper and timely maintenance of eyewear (including appropriate fit, scratch-eye protection and regularly cleaning of eye protection).
- Conducting educational workshops for eye safety at workplace.
- Maintaining adequate machine guards, working on screened or divided work stations and executing other engineering controls.
- Evaluating the eye safety dangers at work and carrying out an eye hazard assessments.
- Eliminating all the hazards before initiating the work. Using work screens, machine guarding, or other types of engineering controls
- Providing proper eye protections.
- Educating employees about eye safety at work and what needs to be done in cases of emergency.
If you want to build vision awareness at your workplace among your employees and reduce any kind of potential risk, we’re here to help you. Want to know what exactly should be done, reach our corporate wellness experts for a free demo.