Preventing Eye Injuries—on and off the Job

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has designated October as Eye Injury Prevention Month. Did you know that nearly half of all eye injuries occur in and around the home?

Eye injuries are extremely debilitating regardless of how they occur. You could be working on the job or mowing the lawn on a Sunday afternoon. Here are just a few eye injury risks at home that call for eye protection:

  • Spraying window cleaner or any cleaning chemical or applying lawn pesticide
  • Mowing the lawn, clipping bushes, cutting tree limbs
  • Using any power tool to cut, grind, or drill
  • Opening bottles under pressure
  • Dusting/wiping down objects or sweeping large areas
  • Hooking bungee cords

Many of these hazards occur on the job in all industries as noted below:

Workplace eye injuries send 300,000 Americans to the ER each year.  These numbers are staggering in the face of a monumental amount of eye and face protection on the market today. A five dollar pair of safety glasses would prevent a huge percentage of eye injuries that occur. While employers are required to provide employees with the appropriate PPE needed for the job, we should do the same for ourselves and loved ones when performing even ordinary tasks at home – once an eye injury has happened all the "should haves" in the world won’t change the end result.

Take a little bit of extra time and pre-plan what eye and/or face protection you might need for the task at hand-on and off the job. For additional eye injury and protection information check out resources from OSHA and The Centers for Disease Control.

Posted by Donna Clendenning, CEES, CSPHP