Eye injuries are among the most common injuries and one of the most easily preventable.

Signs showing that eye safety is required should be posted in all areas that need industrial quality eye protection; anyone working in these areas should always wear the proper eye protection.

Eye injuries can be reduced or eliminated when you are trained to recognize hazards and are required to wear correct eye protection on the job.

Below are some of the causes of eye injuries:

Chemical splashes from solvents, paints, hot liquids, or other hazardous solutions can cause severe eye damage. If your eyes are exposed to chemical splashes, go immediately to the nearest emergency shower or water source; look directly into the stream of water; hold your eyes open with your fingers; and flush them for at least 15 minutes.

Light burns can be caused by exposure to welding, lasers, or other radiant light. The effect may not be felt until hours later, when the eyes begin to feel gritty and become light-sensitive, and redness or swelling may occur. In the case of a light burn, keep your eyes closed while waiting for medical attention.

Swelling from bumps and blows to the eyes can be minimized if a cold compress is applied for 15 minutes. This will also help reduce pain and swelling.

Cuts that occur in or around the eyes should be loosely bandaged. Do not move your eyes until a doctor treats them. Never rub, press, or wash the cut, which can cause further damage.

Foreign particles such as dust, dirt, metal, wood chips, and even an eyelash can cause eye damage. These particles can enter the eye from the wind or from activities like chipping, grinding, brushing, hammering, and using power tools, equipment, or machinery. Flush the object out with water.

Never rub or try to remove objects embedded in the eye without medical attention, as this can cause further damage.

Resources for eye protection can be found here:

A helpful video on this topic can be found at RS SAFETY TV

L&I’s Eye Protection training kit can be found here.

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