Workplace eye injuries are more common than you think. It is estimated that about 1,000 eye injuries occur everyday in the US. In Canada, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind or CNIB puts the number to around 200 a day. Ontario reported that nearly 3,000 workers suffered eye injuries in 2006 alone. These numbers remind workers and employers about the need to promote eye safety in the workplace.
Eye injury prevention is simple enough to implement. With the right safety eyewear, the risk of eye injury is reduced by a staggering 90%. Having said that, wearing the wrong kind of safety glasses may be just as bad as not wearing any protective glasses at all. The eyes are extremely sensitive organs and it is estimated that around 5% of eye injuries may result in serious, long term or short term vision problems or even blindness.
Finding the right safety glasses is crucial in preventing eye injuries. Choose only safety glasses that meet CSA (Canadian Standards Association) Z94.3.1-09 requirements to be sure of quality.
What should you look out for?
Lenses – Plastic polycarbonate lenses are recommended for its impact resistance and flexible form. It comes in both prescription and non-prescription lenses.
Markings – It’s important to scrutinize the glasses you’re buying. Make sure the name of the manufacturer or their logo is clearly etched on the frame, shields, or lenses.
Frames – Frames for safety glasses should be stronger than regular, fashionable frames. It’s important to have heat-resistant frames especially for welders and others who work in extreme environments. Make sure the frame prevents the lenses from pushing into the eyes.
Here’s a guide on the recommended type of safety glasses for different jobs. A complete list can be found on the CCOHS website.
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)
Z94.3.1-09 Selection use and care of protective eyewear by Canadian Standards Association, 2009
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