A Close-up Look at Eye Protection

The eye is a delicate organ which needs to be in perfect working order to function properly; we all know how our vision can be significantly disturbed even by a stray eyelash. In addition, the skin around the eye is thinner and more fragile than the rest of the face. This is an area of the body which really needs added protection from workplace hazards.

RIDDOR figures suggest that in the UK 1% of all reported work injuries are to the eye. This might not sound like a huge number, but it equates to around 23 every working day. Some of the common accidents are:

  • Foreign objects in the eye – dust, concrete, metal, wood etc
  • Scratches to the cornea
  • Chemical splashes and fumes
  • Steam burns
  • Ultraviolet or infrared exposure
  • Transmission of pathogens, both fluid and air borne

Corneal burns and lacerations can result in corneal perforations, ulcers or possibly cataracts. In a worst case scenario they can lead to infections, permanent loss of vision or even loss of the eye. Prolonged UV exposure can lead to worsening eyesight, blurred vision and cataracts, with the added spectre of potential cancer of the eyelid.

Considering that safety experts and eye doctors believe that the right eye protection could lessen the severity or even prevent 90% of these injuries, then that’s 5229 people every year who could avoid serious damage to one of the most vulnerable organs in the body.

Anyone who has had even a minor eye injury will tell you how debilitating and frustrating it can be. And any disturbance to vision is clearly a potential leading indicator for a range of major health and safety issues. Even if there is no actual injury, but simply visual disturbance (ie. being temporarily dazzled by sunlight) it can contribute to an accident. The AA suggest that 3000 road accidents every year result from temporary blindness caused by low sun glare.

Handy tips for choosing the right protection

Considering how simple it is to protect the eye, then this is an easy win for any health and safety strategy. But the protection needs to be appropriate to the hazard. Read our handy tips for choosing the right protection from the hazards your eyes might encounter:

  • Working around particles, flying objects or dust? Wear safety glasses with side protection.
  • Working with chemicals? Wear goggles.
  • Working near hazardous radiation (welding, lasers, fibre optics)? Use special purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields or even helmets, designed specifically with appropriate filters for the task.
  • A full-face shield can protect you from chemicals, heat or liquid borne pathogens, and can be attached to a helmet where necessary. However, they should be used in conjunction with safety glasses or goggles so that the eyes remain protected when the face shield is lifted.
  • Working in strong or low angled sunshine? Wear polarised sunglasses which remove glare better than standard shades.
  • Prescription safety glasses may not look significantly different to your usual pair of spectacles, but they are much tougher. If your eyesight is compromised in any way, then you could consider using a prescription version of any of these eye protection products, rather than just wearing them over your usual specs. Read our separate insight article about Prescription Safety Eyewear Programmes.
  • Always ensure your safety eyewear is maintained in good condition and replaced if it becomes damaged. Scratches and dirt can reduce your vision or even cause glare.

Safety spectacles

These safety spectacles are just some of the options you can buy from our comprehensive selection of eye protection. Both have anti-scratch and anti-fog lenses ensure that you always have crystal clear vision, and both are lightweight and comfortable for all-day wear.

Our Anchor Safety specialists can help you if you would like more information about how to protect your workforce’s eyes. Call them on 0800 328 5028 now.

See the Eye Protection range


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