We all want to ensure we work in a safe and healthy environment. However, we often overlook our most acute sense: our vision. Whether you work in an office or factory, there are always risks of eye injuries that can impact your life. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritise eye safety in the workplace to prevent eye injuries that can lead to vision loss.
Common Work-Related Eye Injuries:
Eye injuries can occur in almost any workplace, ranging from minor scratches to severe eye damage. Some of the most common work-related eye injuries include:
- Cuts or punctures to the eye
- Chemical burns
- Eye damage from exposure to bright ultraviolet light, such as welding flashes
- Eye strain and retinal damage from prolonged exposure to blue light emitted by electronic devices
Protecting Your Eyes at Work:
Fortunately, preventing work-related eye injuries is relatively easy with proper safety measures in place. Here are some steps employers and employees can take to keep their eyes safe.
What Employers Can Do:
1. Provide Appropriate Eye Protection
One of the most effective ways to protect employees' eyes is to provide appropriate eye protection. Employers should ensure that employees have access to safety glasses, 'eye cup goggles', and face shields that are appropriate for their specific tasks. For example, low-impact protection, such as safety glasses, may be suitable for jobs such as chipping or riveting. In contrast, high-impact protection such as face shields and filters may be necessary for tasks involving power tools and chemicals.
2. Eliminate Potential Hazards
Employers can also eliminate potential eye hazards from the work site. This may involve isolating high-risk equipment, maintaining equipment to ensure safety devices are in good working condition, and replacing toxic chemical substances and high-risk equipment with safer alternatives. Using exhaust hoods or extractor fans to manage dust or fumes in the workplace and installing safety barriers using worksite equipment can also help reduce potential eye hazards.
3. Raise Awareness about Workplace Eye Safety
Supervisors should coordinate regular training sessions on eye safety for workers to ensure they are aware of the risks of not using eye protection. Eye safety posters should be placed in workplace areas where they are needed, and information and tips about eye safety should be included in the company's newsletter or posted at strategic locations in the workplace.
What Employees Can Do:
1. Use an Anti-Glare Screen for Your Computer Screen
If you spend much time in front of a computer screen, consider using an anti-glare screen to reduce eye strain and prevent digital eye strain syndrome.
2. Adjust Your Computer Screen to a Right-Angle
Away from a Direct Source of Light. To reduce eye strain, adjust your computer screen at a right angle, away from a direct light source.
3. Take Regular Breaks
Staring at a computer screen for long periods can cause eye strain. To prevent this, take breaks off the screen every 20 minutes and focus on an object in the distance to give your eyes a rest.
4. Use Over-the-Counter Artificial Tears
Apply over-the-counter artificial tears to prevent discomfort and further strain if your eyes dry, such as I-DEW LOC Tears Eye Drops (link), these will provide longer-lasting comfort and lubrication to screen strained eyes, as it contains a unique blend of ocular lubricants, and compatible L-Carnitine and Erythritol solutes that help restore the natural osmotic balance of the eye surface to revive tired eyes.
5. Get Regular Eye Tests
Visiting your optician for regular eye tests at least once a year can help detect eye problems early and prevent vision loss.
Ultimately, workplace eye wellness should be a top priority for employers and employees by taking proactive steps to prevent work-related eye injuries, such as providing appropriate eye protection, eliminating potential hazards, and raising awareness about eye safety.
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