Eye safety at work
Work related eye injuries remain an important problem in the Australian workforce. They are a common cause of work-related injury presentation to emergency departments in Australia and also result in about 500 admissions to hospital per year.
60% of all eye injuries happen in the workplace and about 95% of eye injuries are the result of carelessness and lack of attention.
Common causes of eye injuries
Most injuries that occur appear to be relatively minor (not requiring hospital admission) and most involve foreign bodies on the eye, particularly on the cornea.
Grinding and welding are the two most common tasks being performed when an eye injury occurs, but there is a very wide range of circumstances that can result in an eye injury.
The construction and manufacturing industries, and to a lesser extent the agriculture, forestry & fishing industries and the mining industry, appear to be the industries where workers most commonly sustain an eye injury in the course of work. This is probably due to the tasks being undertaken and the processes that can generate lightweight foreign bodies travelling at high speed.
Not surprisingly, many of the eye injuries occurred when the person was not wearing appropriate eye protection.
Types of eye injuries
Different types of eye injury include:
- Scratch or cut
- Embedded object
- Chemical burn
- Welding flash (vision loss caused by bright light).
Any job that involves airborne particles or hazardous substances carries a risk of eye injury. The eye is extremely delicate and permanent vision loss can result from a relatively minor injury.
Did you know?
- More eye accidents at work happen on Friday than any other day of the week.
- Workers aged over 40 face increased safety risks as an age-related condition known as “presbyopia” affects their eyesight.
- According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, participation in the workforce for those aged between 55-64 is almost 60% and this ageing trend is predicted to continue.
- In 70% of cases, the injury was caused by contact with an object or equipment. Presbyopia: The weakening of the eye as we age, often noticeable when you need to hold your book at arms length.
What you can do
- Always take a common sense approach to hazardous activities and work with your employer to eliminate and control potential eye hazards in the workplace.
- Always wear certified safety eye protection if required. Never wear your normal glasses or sunglasses as a substitute for proper eye protection.
- Make sure you get an eye test to ensure your vision is optimal for your particular work.
Each frame model in our safety eyewear range meets the Australian / New Zealand and International requirements of AS/NZS 1337.6, ANSI Z87.1-2003, EN 166f and BS166f medium impact) and EN166-F (low energy medium impact).
* Source: Prescription Safety Glasses (PSG)