Eye and Face Protection
Introduction: Every year, thousands of workers injure their eyes or lose their sight; not because proper protection wasn’t available, but because they chose not to use it. The Federal OSHA regulation states: “Employees shall be provided with eye and face protection when machines or operations present potential eye or face injury from physical, chemical, or radiation agents.” These stipulations also apply to management personnel, supervisors, and any visitors while they are in a hazardous area. Employers must provide a type of protector suitable for the work to be performed and employees must use them.
Protection must meet the following requirements:
- Adequately protect against the particular hazard for which they were designed.
- They are reasonably comfortable when worn under their designated conditions.
- Fit snugly without unduly interfering with the movements or vision of the wearer.
- Be of durable design and kept in good repair; are easy to clean and able to be disinfected.
- Be distinctly marked providing manufacturer’s identification with ratings for limits and precautions.
Eye and face protection is needed when performing these types of tasks:
- Metal-working operations such as: grinding, cutting, and machining during fabrication processes.
- All hot-work including: Gas torch-welding, torch-cutting, brazing, electric stick welding, and wire-feed welding.
- Air-gun or other air-tool operations involving compressed air.
- Woodworking operations using power saws, routers, planers, sanders, lathes, or chippers.
- During any power or pressure spray operations.
- Any other general or specialized or chemical handling processes, where the risk of splash of harmful material is present.
The types of hazards to protect against include:
- When intense, harmful rays or injurious radiation are present.
- Molten metal, heat, or glare.
- Flying objects or particles.
- Fumes or acid burns.
- Splash or splatter of hazardous liquids.
There are many varieties of eye and face protection available, they include:
- Spectacles- frontal only or with side shields.
- Goggles- clear and flexible or padded with hard, tinted lenses.
- Welding goggles- eye-cup or cover spec with filter lenses.
- Welding helmet- tinted filter lens with shade number.
- Full-face shield- clear plastic or mesh window (sometimes attached to hard-hats or bump-helmets).
Suggestions: The National Society for Blindness Prevention recommends that emergency eyewash stations be placed in all potentially hazardous locations. First aid instructions for eye injuries should be posted in the immediate vicinity. It is also prudent to keep a bottle of good quality eyewash in the first aid kit. Any delay or mistake in dealing with an eye injury could result in permanent damage or loss. Good vision is an asset we all take for granted. Do not take any chances, always protect your eyesight.