In 2016, Pinnacol processed 2,048 claims for eye injuries for a gross total of just over $2 million. Despite the high risk of eye injury in some industries, many workers skip the precautions that could protect their eyes wearing either the wrong kind of eye protection or no protection when accidents occur. Eye injuries take a toll on businesses, too, accounting for $300 million annually in medical bills, compensation and downtime.
The use of proper eye protection such as safety glasses, goggles and face shields prevents eye injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires the use of eye and face protection whenever there is a chance of injury from flying objects, splashing chemicals, intense heat and even light radiation. The appropriate eye protection for each work situation depends on the hazards, circumstances of exposure and individual vision needs.
Safety eyewear rated by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) meets specific guidelines. For example, one of the common ratings — ANSI Z87.1 — identifies the eyewear as impact-resistant, an effective safeguard against flying objects. Ensure that eyewear for your workers carries the appropriate ANSI rating. Most manufacturers comply with ANSI, and even stylish eyewear is available from major brands such as 3M, Edge Eyewear, UVEX and others.
Locate and provide “reader” glasses for those employees who perform detailed tasks up close. Be aware that OSHA does require employers to pay for certain personal protective equipment, including non-prescription eye protection. Whether your business is construction, manufacturing or healthcare, there are times when your workers require eye protection. After all, you have only two eyes; let’s protect them with the right equipment!
We encourage you to visit OSHA’s website for helpful resources. Its “eTool,” for example, includes a hazard assessment, information about selecting protective devices and OSHA’s requirements.
For guidance on personal protective equipment and many other resources to help protect your workers’ eyes, visit the Knowledge Center on Pinnacol’s website. Or call Pinnacol’s Safety On Call hotline at 303-361-4700 or 888-501-4752. Our safety services team stands ready to answer questions and help keep your workforce safe, healthy and on the job.