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January is National Eye Care Month

Eye injuries have become quite common in the workplace, particularly in industrial environments. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, approximately 2,000 eye related injuries are sustained by workers each year. Safety experts believe that as many as 90% of these injuries could be prevented by taking the proper precautions.

Many of the eye related injuries at work are caused by foreign objects or chemicals in the eye that can scrape or cut the cornea. Other common injuries involve splashes into the eyes and exposure to infrared or ultraviolet radiation.

Workers who are most at risk for eye injuries include health care workers, janitorial staff and laboratory staff along with those who work in industrial environments. Two of the most common reasons for eye injuries include not wearing any eye protection or wearing the wrong type of protection for the task.

The type of eye protection that should be used depends upon the hazards in your workplace. If you work in an area where there are flying objects or dust you should wear safety glasses that have side shields. If you work with chemicals, goggles should be worn. When working near radiation, including fiber optics, you should wear a face shield or helmet that is specifically designed for that purpose. It is also a good idea to routinely perform an eye hazard analysis or assessment of the workplace. Along with wearing the proper eye protection gear, make sure you are aware of the safety dangers that are present in your work area and take steps to reduce or eliminate as many hazards as possible by using work screens. Finally, make sure that your eyewear is routine checked to be certain it is in good condition. When it becomes damaged, replace it.

January is National Eye Care Month, a time that has been specifically dedicated to promote healthy vision across the nation. Eye care professionals recommend getting your eyes checked once per year, even if you think that your vision is perfect. Getting a routine eye exam is a critical part of an overall health care plan and can help you to avoid possible vision loss.

Find this article and more health/safety topics in the January EMC Insider

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