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    Protecting the Eyes of Employees

    By Mark Conroy

    Your employees are your most valuable assets, so providing them with protection from hazards is critical. And one of the most impor¬tant and least expensive investments in their safety is in safety glasses. The best policy is to buy the ones that your employees will wear. But let’s take a closer look.

    The two main reasons for wearing safety glasses are to prevent injuries from flying objects and chemical ex¬posure hazards. Although eye injuries can still happen, even if safety glasses are worn, safety glasses limit the oc¬currence of injury events and help limit their severity.

    Although the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) allows the employer to pro¬vide one pair of safety glasses for each work station, rather than buying an individual pair for each employee, nobody likes wearing someone else’s personal protective equipment—be it hard hats, ear muffs, or safety glasses. Plus shared equipment tends not to get maintained; instead it gets scratched, broken, or lost. So the best policy is to get a pair of safety glasses for each em¬ployee and provide a lens cleaning sta¬tion so that they can keep them clean. Also make sure you have an eyewash station and eyewash products available for immediate first aid use, in the event of chemical contact with the eye.

    Safety Goggles
    Some of the best protection for the eyes, from flying objects and chemi¬cal injuries, is wearing safety goggles. These come in two varieties—good and better.

    • Brooks P/N EW201: These safety goggles are good. They have a soft frame, holes for ventilation, and a wide one-piece plastic lens.
    • Brooks P/N EW241: These safety goggles are better. That’s because they are more comfortable, fit over most prescription glasses, have an anti-fog lens, and a wide adjust¬able strap. Plus they can be worn with a half-mask respirator.
    • Both have passed the stringent ANSI Z87.1 safety testing and filter 99% of U.V. radiation.

    Magnifier Safety Glasses (Reading Glasses)
    If you have employees that wear reading glasses, then consider offering the Crews Bearkat® magnifier safety glasses. These have a special magni¬fier in the lower part of the lens for each eye. And all you need is your em¬ployee’s magnification to match it with the number on the Crews Bearkat lens (diopters 1.0 – 2.5). They come with clear or gray lenses/temples and meet ANSI Z87.1 and filter 99% of U.V. ra¬diation. Remember that safety glasses with corrective lenses should only be worn by the employee for whom they were ordered. They should never be shared with others.

    Lens Cleaning Station
    Employees wearing dirty safety glasses can be dangerous, so make sure you have a lens cleaning station. These are inexpensive and essential for safety. The MCR Safety lens cleaning station is ideal for keeping safety glasses clean in the workplace. It contains an 8 oz bottle of anti-fog, anti-static, cleaning agent that is specially formulated for cleaning the lenses of safety glasses. It also contains 300 tissues. What could be safer and easier?

    Eyewash Station
    The Pureflow 1000 eyewash station is a self-contained emergency eyewash unit (no plumbing connection). It is easy to install and, upon activation, it gently sprays saline eye solution from factory-sealed cartridges (sold separately). The device is designed to provide a flushing spray, at a specific flow rate and stream height, for a full 15 minutes. The saline fluid cartridges need to be replaced ev¬ery two years too.

    Immediate Eyewash First Aid
    Eyesaline® sterile isotonic saline solution bottles should be strategi¬cally placed throughout the work-place, wherever chemical exposure to the eyes could occur. Similar to fire extinguishers, these bottles need to be mounted in special brackets on the wall. The single or double bottle plastic brackets and Eyesaline saline solution bottles are called “wall stations”.

    Eyewash Signage
    Every emergency eyewash station and wall station must have a sign posted to identify the location. The signs are available as flush mount (Brooks P/N RP176) or stand out (Brooks P/N PTD176). Signs must be located near the stations and be easily seen from across the room.

    A Final Word of Advice
    Providing eye protection and emergency eyewash fa¬cilities makes sense from a safety standpoint. It also shows you care about your employees. Buying safety glasses that the employees will wear will make your purchase worthwhile. But remember, they will only be effective if employees like and wear them.

    Safety glasses prevent injuries, but eye injuries can still happen. Safety glasses will help limit those occur¬rences and the severity of injuries, so it is imperative to get a pair of safety glasses or safety goggles for each em¬ployee and provide a lens cleaning sta¬tion to keep them clean. In the event of chemical contact with the eye, you also need to have an eyewash station and eyewash products available for immediate use.

    Employees are your most valuable assets. These products will pay off in fewer and less severe injuries and your employees will appreciate you because you care.

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