A Vision of Safety: Protecting Your Eyes at Work and Play


Eyes are responsible for so many activities and duties yet they are fragile.  That’s why it’s especially important to pay attention to safety during work and play.  The ability to see is a blessing that many take for granted.  However, once an accident occurs and something happens to one or both eyes and influences vision, it’s very easy to understand the importance of paying great attention to safety standards.

Injuries Are Common

The National Institute of Occupational Safety reports that 2,000 US workers undergo job-related injuries which require medical assistance each day.  Doctors admit that almost all of such injuries could be avoided or lessened if workers paid better attention to standards.

Proper eye protection, such as wearing goggles, could prevent thousands of eye injuries per year.  Injuries occur due to chemical spills, flung objects, burns from steam, ultraviolet or infrared exposure, etc.  Furthermore, a number of diseases are contracted via the mucous membrane.  Contact with blood splashes, respiratory droplets, or touching the eyes with contaminated fingers can cause infection or disease.

Not wearing eye protection or wearing the wrong kind of protection for a particular duty or job is responsible for many avoidable accidents on the job.  Nearly three out of every five workers surveyed were not wearing eye protection during an accident.  Goggles, face shields, safety glasses, or full face respirators should be supplied and made mandatory.

Jobs That Pose Risks

Of course, accidents can happen anywhere at anytime, however certain industries and jobs pose greater threats of eye injury.  For example, construction, electrical work, mining, carpentry, welding, plumbing, maintenance, auto repair, and manufacturing place workers at a higher risk of attracting eye injuries due to related processes and onsite hazards.  Kemper Medical supplies safety gear according to industry and task.

Wear Protection Based on Activities

The type of work and immediate activity should dictate the variety of eye protection worn by workers.  An area with flying particles requires workers to wear safety goggles with side shields.  Those working around chemicals need to wear goggles, and special-purpose goggles should be worn when welding or working with lasers or fiber optics.

Workers need to take necessary precaution and employers should ensure that workers are following standards.  Employers should conduct eye hazard assessments, remove or reduce hazards, and provide the appropriate eye protection gear, having employees sign a promise to wear it.

How to Protect Eyes at Work

Observe and know of the hazards in the immediate area before you start tasks

  • Eliminate or reduce hazards by using machine guards, work screens, and other engineer controls
  • Use proper eye protection
  • Keep safety equipment in good working condition and replace what is damaged

What to Do in an Emergency

It’s better to err on the side of caution.  If have pain, blurred vision, limited field of vision, or loss of vision as a result of an injury then seek medical attention.  There are certain things to do according to particular accidents.

If chemicals come into contact with your eye, flush it for 15 minutes.  Place the eye under a faucet or shower, use a garden hose, or pour water into the eye from a container.  If you’re wearing contact lenses, do not remove but flush the eye immediately.  Don’t try to ‘neutralize’ the chemicals.  Don’t bandage the eye but seek medical attention after flushing.

If particles get into your eye, do not rub the eye.  Let your tears wash your eye out or use artificial tear solution.  Lift the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower eyelid to remove the particle.  If the particle does not wash out, keep the eye closed, bandage it, and seek medical attention.

If you suffer a blow to the eye then apply a cold compress but limit putting pressure on your eye.  Crushed ice can be placed in a bag and on the eye to relieve pressure.  In case of severe pain or reduced vision, seek immediate medical attention.

If you suffer a cut or scrape to the eye or lid, do not wash your eye or attempt to remove an object stuck in the eye.  Cover the eye with a shield, such as the bottom of a paper cup, and seek medical attention.

Contact Lenses are Okay But Not a Form of Protection

Most workers can wear contact lenses on the job, but should not assume a lens will protect the eye from any kind of safety hazard.  As mentioned above, in the event of an injury, do not attempt to take the lens out though it may come out during a flushing.  Check with your optometrist to see if wearing glasses in addition to safety goggles is a better method of safety on the job.


Kemper Medical was founded by Greg Kemper in 2008. A former X-ray, Ultrasound, CT tech and radiology department manager, he understands your needs and can speak your medical language. We thank you for your gracious support allowing us to grow in size and scope, offering even better prices on a growing online catalog. Please order by phone, fax, email or our website.