When you think of a work-related injury, a pulled muscle or broken bone may come to mind. Less likely, you’ll think of your eyes. And yet, eye injuries account for more than 20,000 workplace injuries each year and cost $300 million annually in lost productivity, medical treatment, and worker compensation. Furthermore, it isn’t only construction or other industries where safety goggles are a common sight. Increasingly, office workers are also feeling the effects of their work environment on their eyes.
As National Workplace Eye Wellness Month draws to a close, we’d like to pass along a few tips for keeping your eyes safe from harm, no matter what your job may be. Follow these, and you can be confident that your eyes are safe from work-related injuries.
Use Proper Eye Protection
This one seems obvious, but protective eyewear is often taken for granted, particularly when workers misjudge the potential hazards in their surroundings. Whenever there is any risk of eye injury, no matter how small, eye protection must be worn. The specific type will vary by industry and employer. Some will require face shields or helmets, while others rely on goggles. Whatever the specified type of eyewear is for your job, make sure that it is readily available to you and worn in at all times necessary.
Understand Emergency Eye Care Guidelines
While not every injury may be avoidable, knowing exactly what to do when one occurs is equally important. Depending on the type of work you do and the potential eye dangers around you, first aid protocols may vary. Whether you get a foreign object in the eye or take a blow to the eye, you should have already familiarized yourself with the recommended next steps. In such situations, expedient and proper first aid can make a significant impact.
Avoid Eye Strain at the Office
Whereas projectiles, chemicals, and machinery represent common threats to eye safety in some industries, office workers face a different, but growing concern – eye strain. Eye strain from hours spent staring at a computer screen or other electronic device often leads to eye fatigue, vision problems, and headaches. Of course, depending on the job, it isn’t feasible for most workers to simply stop using their computers. Instead, one must combat eye strain by implementing some safety rules during their electronic use.
When using a computer, don’t sit too close. Keep the screen at a distance of at least 30 inches from your eyes at all times. Additionally, give your eyes frequent breaks by looking away for several seconds every 10 to 15 minutes, and blink frequently to prevent drying.
Eye injuries in the workplace may be common, but they are also largely avoidable. Take care of these most important of organs by practicing proven safety measures and being prepared in the event of an emergency. No matter where you work or what your job title, there is always something you can do to protect your eyes.
For more tips on wellness and safety at work, please visit https://www.lanermc.org/services/workforce-wellness/ or contact Liz Pardi to set up a free on-site presentation, 225-270-5821.