Hazards are present in every workplace that could result in eye injury or blindness. Protecting your vision is as simple as being aware of the dangers and engaging in safe work practices that minimize risks.
Working in a Laboratory
Laboratory goggles protect the wearer from chemical splashes, flying shards of broken glassware, and any other potential injury to the eye that arises from the hustle and bustle of lab work. Safety eyewear must be worn any time you are in a lab and there is the risk of eye exposure.
Eyewash stations are used in the event of chemical exposure to the eyes to flush out the hazardous chemical(s), preventing further injury. It is critical that all laboratory workers be familiar with the location and operation of the nearest eyewash station. Following an exposure, the first 10-15 seconds is critical. For this reason, eyewash stations must be kept clear and free of obstruction to prevent delay. More information is available on our Emergency Shower and Eyewash Guideline.
Use of lasers in certain laboratories presents another hazard. When selecting protective eye wear for work around lasers, wavelength and optical density (OD) are critical factors that will affect which lenses are up to the task. Speak to your supervisor regarding proper use of personal protective equipment. For more information, consult the Laser Safety Program (Section 12.0 Personnel Protective Equipment).
Working in a Workshop
In a workshop, impact resistant safety glasses must be worn at all times. Workshops are home to lots of debris (e.g. sawdust, wood chips, metal shards, etc…) and activity. Safety glasses protect the wearer’s eye from impact and dust. Particular care must be taken when working with tools with rotating parts, such as lathes, bench grinders, and saws. If used incorrectly, debris could be directed towards the user’s face and eyes. Users should always receive training before operating new equipment.
Another hazard specific to workshops is exposure to the concentrated UV rays resulting from welding. Direct exposure to these levels of UV radiation result in a form of conjunctivitis referred to as “Arc Flash” or “Welder’s Eye”. Depending on the length and severity of exposure, a person can experience temporary blindness, intense pain, inability to look at light sources (photophobia) and can last for several days. Welding helmets and shields are designed to block this level of UV radiation.
Know the hazards. Save your vision.