Construction workers often work in environments that contain hazardous chemicals, dust and other particles that are suspended in the air. People may be working with equipment that could unexpectedly send pieces flying through the air. These airborne particles and projectiles, including dust, large chips, fragments and sand, may hit a worker’s eye and could cause serious injuries and even blindness in some cases. In fact, the Occupational Safety Health Administration reported that each year, work-related eye injuries cost over $300 million in medical expenses, lost production and workers’ compensation.
Whenever construction workers are subjected to flying particles, liquid chemicals, caustic liquids, acids, chemical vapors, gases, light radiation or molten metal, they are required to use appropriate eye and face protection, under OSHA regulations. Employers must make sure that all construction workers wear the appropriate eye gear that includes protection on the side. This eye protection must be comfortable to wear, durable, disinfected and fit snuggly to provide optimal protection.
Impact to the eye can result in abrasions, contusions or punctures in the eye. Hot splashes of molten metal or extremely high temperatures can cause burns to the eyes. However, most injuries occur when small particles scrape or scratch the cornea of the eye. Long-term exposure to hazards may cause conditions of the eye that could eventually lead to loss of eyesight.
Workers should always wear the appropriate eye protection for the job they are engaging in. They should never attempt to use machines or walk onto a construction site without wearing all of the proper equipment in order to minimize the chances of being injured.