The Science of Eye Protection:
Why Safety Goggles are Important

Introduction

Our ability to see is what makes our life easy and joyful. We should be grateful to God for bestowing us these two precious and delicate gifts. Without these, life would be shrouded in darkness.

Given the delicate nature of our eyes, they deserve utmost care & attention, particularly when the nature of your job exposes them to daily risks. There are certain professions, where eye protection is absolutely critical, and any negligence may cost the well-being of the employees.

Eye protection is crucial & mandatory in industries, factories, construction sites, welding jobs, nursing jobs, laboratories etc. Workers employed in the above professions are daily exposed to dangers of all kinds. So the best quality personal protective equipment (P.P.E) is required to keep the workers safe. Each year an estimated 2.4 million eye injuries occur in the United States. Using quality safety goggles is important & helps in preventing eye injuries.

IT professionals or those spending extended hours on computers can potentially experience mild eye strain. But due to the nature of their jobs, industrial workers or factory workers are at higher risk of sustaining eye injuries.

In this blog, we’ll know about the science of eye protection in detail and also understand why safety goggles are important.

The Vulnerability of the Human Eye

Human eyes are the most delicate and vulnerable organs of the human body. Every other vital organ like the heart, lungs & brain are shielded by various layers of protection. But eyes remain openly exposed due to lack of a physical barrier against potential dangers. Even harmless dust and air causes discomfort and irritation to the eyes. This vulnerability demands for the highest form of eye protection at the workplace. And for eye protection, providing employees with quality safety goggles is important. 

 

Eyes can quickly come in contact with hazardous substances like air, dust, liquids, chemicals or any minute object that may make direct contact with the eyes, potentially leading to significant harm.

 

According to The National Institute For Occupational Safety, (NIOSH) Each day about 2000 U.S. workers sustain a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment. About one third of the injuries are treated in hospital emergency departments, and more than 100 of these injuries result in one or more days away from work.

 

Employees working in laboratories and nurses in hospitals require eye protection from bacterias and viruses, emphasizing the importance of safety goggles. Especially nurses are at high risk of catching eye diseases as they work closely around sick patients who may cough or sneeze.

Common Eye Hazards

Using the right eye safety goggles prevents a person from the following common eye hazards.

Chemical Exposure: Exposure to hazardous chemicals is common in industries, factories and laboratories. Without the proper eye safety gear, employees are at risk of coming in contact with harmful chemicals that may cause discomfort, itching, burns or irritation in eyes. Daily exposure to such harmful chemicals can lead to eye injuries or may cause permanent blindness.

Particulate Matter: In some workplace settings, enormous dust and heat is generated, especially on mining and construction sites. Dust, heat or tiny particles may enter the eyes causing discomfort to workers. In response to this, workers may rub or scratch the eyes leading to further damage. Sudden contact with dust or heat, may even distract workers & cause accidents.

UV Radiation: Ultraviolet radiations are equally harmful for eyes. Direct prolonged exposure to them may lead to some painful eye conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and photokeratitis. Overexposure to ultraviolet rays causes sunburned eyes also known as photokeratitis. Cataracts affect more than 24.4 million Americans aged 40 and older. By age 75, approximately half of all Americans have cataracts.

Infectious Agents: Germs, bacterias & viruses are prevalent in hospitals, laboratories & other healthcare settings. Medical professionals should take maximum precaution, especially the ones closely working in and around patients. Because daily exposure to such harmful bacterias and viruses may cause eye infections. In 2016, workplace hazards for Registered Nurses resulted in 19,790 nonfatal injuries and illnesses that required at least 1 day away from work, at an incidence rate of 104.2 cases per 10,000 full-time workers (private industry).

The Role of Safety Goggles

Safety goggles play a critical role in ensuring the safety of the workforce, highlighting the importance of safety goggles. They are specially designed in a way to both cover and protect the eyes. And safety goggles perfectly cover eyes from front and side. When worn during work, acts as a strong barrier and shield against potential eye damaging hazards. Safety goggles are a crucial part of personal protective equipment (P.P.E) and are super useful for construction workers, welders, nurses and lab professionals, factory workers, electricians etc. They are also comfortable and can be worn for extended time periods.

Benefits of Using Safety Goggles

From covering eyes to protecting them from any damage or injuries, the benefits of using safety goggles are plenty. Comfortable and good quality safety goggles manage to keep eyes safe from heat, dust, UV rays, debris, objects, chemicals & other harmful liquids. So, buying the right safety goggles is important here. 

However, certain jobs couldn’t be performed without wearing safety goggles, Especially welders need to wear the best quality safety goggles to protect eyes from light, sparks, heat & radiation. Factory and other industrial workers too need safety goggles to protect eyes from any injuries. According to The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), thousands of people are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries that could have been prevented with the right eye protection equipment. 

In certain workplace settings, safety goggles are a legal requirement. Employers must have to comply with the safety standards, failing to do so may invite lawsuits, penalties & additional financial burdens in the form of compensation. Neglecting the safety of employees not only risks legal consequences but also endangers the employer’s reputation.   

So ensure the safety of your workforce by investing in the best quality safety goggles.

Choosing the Right Safety Goggles

Buying the right safety goggles is important. The right safety goggles provide maximum protection and comfort to the eyes. Workers may need to wear safety goggles for long periods, so the comfort factor is crucial here. Any discomfort after wearing the safety goggles may compromise the safety of workers. So invest in safety goggles that are secure, durable and comfortable. The one which comes with adjustable straps and can be worn for longer hours without causing any discomfort. The safety team should first test the safety goggles and then proceed with buying in large quantities. 

However, buying the right safety goggles depends on various factors, including the working environment and the specific hazards that may be present. The type of hazard will help you in determining the type of safety goggles your workers need. 

Safety goggles must meet the certain safety standards set by Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA). According to OSHA, The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gasses or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.

Safety goggles are of the following type:

  1. Impact resistance 
  2. Chemical resistance 
  3. UV-Protective Goggles
  4. Welding Goggles
  5. Sports and Recreational Goggles

 

Therefore, the employer must provide workers with proper safety goggles that are both comfortable and suitable.

Conclusion

Safety of employees must be never compromised and the employers must realize the importance of safety goggles. So to keep the employees safe, investing in the best quality personal protective equipment is critical. In this case, good quality safety goggles effectively protects eyes and reduces the risks of eye injuries. Considering the vulnerable nature of eyes and how easily they are susceptible to injuries, workers must be equipped with the right quality safety goggles. The right safety goggles not only protect and cover the eyes, but are comfortable to wear for longer hours. There are different types of quality safety goggles in the market, depending upon the nature of your work and risk involved, select the right safety goggles. And remember, comfort and suitability matters the most.

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