Eye Protection at Home and the Workplace

Eye injuries are one the easiest injuries to avoid. It's simple: Wear Your Safety Glasses!  There are many kinds of eye protection on the market today.  No matter what the situation, where eye safety is a factor, the eye protection you need is available.

Every day an estimated 1,000 eye injuries occur in American workplaces.  The financial cost of these injuries is enormous--more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses, and workers compensation.  No dollar figure can adequately reflect the personal toll these accidents take on the injured workers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the 25 states and territories operating their own job safety and health programs are determined to help reduce eye injuries.  In concert with efforts by concerned voluntary groups, OSHA has begun a nationwide information campaign to improve workplace eye protection.

Using Protective Eyewear

No matter where we work, flying particles, dusts, fumes, vapors or harmful rays are apt to expose us to potential eye injury.  Fortunately, we can protect against these hazards by using the appropriate protective eyewear for our jobs and by following our companies' established safety guidelines.  The following is a guide to the most common types of protective eyewear and the specific hazards they can guard against.

Safety Glasses

Standard safety glasses look very much like normal glasses, but are designed to protect you against flying particles.  Safety glasses have lenses that are impact resistant and frames that are far stronger than regular eyeglasses.  Safety glasses must meet the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  (Safety glasses are also available in prescription form for those persons who need corrective lenses.)  Standard safety glasses can be equipped with side shields, cups, or tinted lenses to offer additional protection.

Safety Goggles

Like standard safety glasses, goggles are impact resistant and are available in tinted lenses. Goggles provide a secure shield around the entire eye area to protect against hazards coming from many directions. Safety goggles may have regular or indirect ventilation. (Goggles with indirect ventilation may be required if you are exposed to splash hazards.)

You can guard against eye injury by making sure that you are wearing the appropriate protective eyewear for the particular eye hazards you face. It's important to remember that regular glasses alone do not offer protection from eye hazards.  Follow your company's established safety procedures, and never hesitate to ask your supervisor if you have any questions about what you can do to protect your sight for life.