Vision Wellness : How to Keep your Eyes Safe at Work
Employees are, frequently confronted with job-related eye injuries these days that require proper care and attention from an eye care professional. Doctors, as well as workplace safety experts, believe that the main reason behind employees experiencing eye injuries is that they don’t wear anything to protect their eyes.
To educate employees and their corporations about the importance of a healthy vision, Prevent Blindness America (PBA) has declared the month of March as, “Workplace Vision Wellness Month,” citing various safety tips, to avoid vision-threatening eye accidents.
Types of Eye Injuries
Possible eye hazards at work involve different elements 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 help you assess possible eye hazards that can happen at work and assist you with the safety protocols.
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. If you work somewhere that gets you near airborne dust or objects, you must use safety glasses that have shields along their sides, too.
Also, using lasers, welding, or fibre optics requires the usage of safety gear like special-purpose glasses, helmets, goggles, face shields, etc. designed especially for the work.
Protection from Displays and Screens
Working on mobile phones, computers, etc. for long hours can be unsafe for your eyes. All of this time spent gazing at the screen, continually, can result in computer vision syndrome.
Computer vision syndrome is an eye-related problem that occurs from prolonged exposure to the screens, and its symptoms can range from physical fatigue to the twitching of the eye.
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. Look at something, which is at least 20 feet away, for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes. If you’re using a mobile device, make sure the font size is big so you can use it from a distance, making it more soothing for your eyes.
2. Maintain the Brightness
Keep a watch at the brightness of your screen, and make sure that the resolution is neither too dim nor too bright. Place the monitor just below the eye level to reduce any kind of pressure on your eyes. You can get yourself a pair of computer glasses, too.
3. Remember to Blink
When working on an electronic device for an elongated time, you automatically tend to blink less. You must remember to blink your eyes because blinking prevents the occurrence of dry eye, by keeping your eyes moist.
4. Regular Eye Exams
The key step in preventing computer vision syndrome is to register yourself for a routine eye examination with an eye specialist. Regular examination is an excellent way to know of your eye health. Do tell your eye doctor if you’re using electronic devices in your everyday routine at work.
5. Computer Eyewear
When you go for the checkup, your doctor might prescribe you the eyewear specifically meant for computer use. This eyewear can help ease the eye strain while using electronic devices.
6. Take Mini Breaks
It is advisable to take short and frequent breaks while working on a computer. Get up from your seat, stretch your muscles, walk around, and avoid looking at any form of screen. Give your eyes an appropriate rest time.
- Flex Your Eye Muscles: Rotate your eyes in a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction for about a minute. This works as a workout for your eyes. You can also shut them tightly, constricting your eye muscles and relaxing them into their normal position, repeatedly. These two sets of exercises 3-4 times a day will work wonders in keeping your eyes healthy.
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, 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 with 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, incorrect choice of eye-wear, or due to lack of awareness about the potential risk. Employees can ensure eye safety in the mining industry by offering high-quality eye protections, and by regularly examining the adequacy of their eye protection measures.
In the manufacturing industry, the majority of eye injuries at the workplace, are caused due to small objects or particles such as metal, wood chips, slivers, dust, etc. There is also a risk of eye injury due to harmful chemicals from cleaning or manufacturing processes.
For the 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.
You may read Pre-Employment Health Check.
Workplace eye safety recommendations to employers?
Employers must take the necessary steps to make the environment, as safe as possible, for their employees. For instance-:
- Carrying out an assessment of eye hazards at the workplace.
- Reducing and removing eye hazards wherever possible.
- Offering 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 regular cleaning of eye protection).
- Conducting educational workshops for eye safety at the workplace.
- Maintaining adequate machine guards, working on screen or divided work stations, and executing other engineering controls.
- Evaluating the eye safety dangers at work and carrying out 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 protection.
- Educating employees about eye safety at work and what needs to be done in cases of emergency.
If you want to build vision awareness among your employees and reduce potential risks, we’re here to help you. Want to know what exactly should be done, reach our corporate wellness experts for a free demo.