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Taking Care of Your Eyes – On the Job!

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It only takes a tiny sliver of metal, particle of dust or a splash of chemical to cause significant and permanent eye damage, according to the National Safety Council. Every March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month, and it is a good time to remind your employees of eye safety tips.

More than 700,000 work-related eye injuries occur every year – and that isn’t even taken into account the eye strains caused by too much computer screen time. When thinking about on-the-job eye injuries from metal, dust or chemicals, here are some injury-prevention tips to keep in mind:
• Study injury patterns to see where accidents are occurring, looking at plant operations, work areas, access routes and equipment. Notice any patterns? Take action if you do!
• Conduct regular vision testing for your employees
• Select the correct protective eyewear, depending on the specific tasks or hazards
• Establish and enforce a mandatory eye protection program in all operation areas
• Establish first-aid procedures for eye injuries, and make sure there are eyewash stations available nearby, especially where chemicals are in use
• Include eye safety as part of your employee orientation and ongoing training and regularly review and revise policies to stay with the times and equipment changes
• Display a copy of the policies where all employees can see them
• Set the example by having all managers and supervisors wearing protective eyewear when expected of employees

Workplace eye hazards don’t disappear just because you might not be around machinery where metal slivers or chemicals might play a role. Many employees are dealing with eye strain when it comes to spending so many hours in the day staring at computer screens or mobile phone screens. Prolonged exposure can lead to digital eye strain, dry and irritated eyes, blurred vision, eye fatigue, neck and back pain, and headaches. Biggest rule for these employees is the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, make sure to look at something 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. Educating your employees on this rule can help decrease digital eye strain and maintain better eye health.

Mr. Griffith has a received his bachelors degree in Environmental Health from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He is a Certified Industrial Hygienist and president of Workplace Safety & Health Company. He has over 35 years of industrial hygiene, safety, loss control and consulting experience. Chemical monitoring, noise measurement, program development and management, risk assessment and computer management of health and safety data are areas of particular strength. Mr. Griffith is a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) at the local and national level. He is also active in the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).

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