Dust, chemicals, welding sparks, and windy weather are all potential causes of eye injuries. In this blog, we’ll outline five steps you can take to reduce the risk.
There is a high risk of eye injuries in the midstream Oil & Gas sector, especially if you fail to take the correct safety precautions.
Taking steps to protect your eyes will reduce and potentially eliminate major risks associated with dust, chemicals, welding sparks, and windy conditions.
Let’s first look at those risks in a little more depth.
It’s almost impossible to avoid encountering dust, which is a common feature of machine operation or maintenance-related work, as well as the loading and unloading of materials. Dust can also be created by on-site vehicle traffic. In a worst-case scenario, the effect of dust in the eye could include infection, scarring, corneal scratches, or corneal abrasions.
These can cause chemical burns if they come into contact with the eye. In addition, exposure to mists, fumes, and vapors can cause serious eye damage. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics states that contact with chemicals causes around one-fifth of eye injuries in workplaces.
Sparks from welding are very risky if the right precautions are not taken. Welders may be exposed to carcinogens that can damage the eyes. In addition, welding torches can cause problems as a result of UV light, including conditions such as ‘welder’s flash’ or ‘arc eye’. Flash burns are like a sunburn on the surface of the eye and can result in pain, changes in vision, or, in some extreme cases, loss of vision.
Working outside in windy conditions can also lead to eye injuries. Dry eyes often cause irritation, which can make it tempting to alleviate the itchiness by rubbing your eyes. Excessive rubbing of the eyes could potentially cause corneal abrasions or scratches.
How Common are Work-Related Eye Injuries?
Each day, around 2,000 US workers sustain a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Approximately, one-third of these injuries are treated in hospital emergency departments and more than 100 of these injuries result in one or more days of lost work.
These figures illustrate the importance of taking steps to minimize the risk of eye injuries in the Oil & Gas sector.
2KJob-Related Eye Injuries a Day
100Result in Lost Days of Work
What Steps Should You Take to Prevent Eye Injuries?
The following are five ways that you can reduce the risk:
1. Wear goggles or safety glasses with side shields.
This type of protection is especially important when seeking to prevent eye injuries caused by flying or falling objects or sparks.
2. Use safety glasses with special-purpose lenses.
Special purpose lenses help to protect the eyes from exposure to high temperatures or sparks.
3. Wear face shields.
Chemical-related injuries are often caused when inappropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) is used and, consequently, chemical substances enter the eye around the sides of, and under, protective equipment. A face shield can provide valuable additional protection, but sometimes you need both safety glasses and a face shield.
4. Ensure the provision of eyewash stations is adequate.
Strategic placement of eyewash stations nearby can play a key role in limiting eye injuries caused by chemical substances.
5. Never endanger your face or eyes even for just a few minutes.
Serious and permanent eye damage can happen very quickly, so it is vital that face and eye protection are always worn when carrying out potentially dangerous tasks.
Use face shields in combination with safety spectacles or goggles, even in the absence of dust or potential splashes, for additional protection beyond that offered by spectacles or goggles alone.Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
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