According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, construction workers are more prone to eye injuries. The report says thousands of construction site workers are either blinded or suffer other preventable eye injuries each year. More than 2,000 construction workers injure their eyes at work each day. 10%-20% of the eye injuries cause temporary or permanent vision loss. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are more than 15,000 welding equipment-related eye injuries a year. Power tools contribute to nearly 10,000 eye injuries a year.
Causes of Eye Hazards at Construction Site
- Particles producing work such as hammering, grinding, sanding and masonry work.
- Chemical spills
- Wet or powdered cement
- Exposure to arcs and flashes while welding
- Particles such as flying dust, concrete and metal Falling or shifting debris, glass and other construction materials
- Smoke and noxious or poisonous gases
How to Prevent Eye Hazards at Construction Sites
- Inspect work areas, access routes and equipment. Identify operations and areas that present eye hazards.
- Prevent particles from flying by using machine guards or screens.
- Label hazardous areas “No Entry Zone” for those not assigned to work there.
- Select protective eyewear designed for a specific duty or hazard. Eye protection must meet the OSHA requirement for Z87.1 certification by the American National Standards Institute. Z87.1 description will be given at the lens or frame of the eye protection.
- Have the eyewear fitted by an eye care or trained professional.
- Conduct awareness programs to create, maintain and support the need for protective eyewear.
- Safety glasses provide coverage and side protection to guard your eyes from flying particles or objects. Some styles also have brow protection along the top of the glasses.
- Use goggles while performing tasks such as sawing, chipping, grinding, doing masonry work, using a nail gun, pouring cement, chemicals and liquid or fine dust hazards.
- Use a face shield when you are spraying, chipping, grinding or welding. Always use your safety glasses and goggles when you wear a face shield because particles and chemicals can get around a face shield and into your eyes.
- Carefully remove your safety equipment. Brush, shake or vacuum dust and debris from your hardhat, hair, forehead and top of your safety glasses or goggles.
- Don’t rub your eyes with dirty hands or clothing.
- Always keep your equipment and eyewear clean.