Your eyes are precious. The importance of your vision can’t be overstated and your ability to see well has a considerable effect on your quality of life. Despite this, workplace eye wellness doesn’t get the attention it needs and deserves. While there are some jobs where the need for protection is obvious (like in a chemistry lab), there are many others that pose a more hidden risk. In both situations, it’s vital to identify the dangers and protect your eyes accordingly. There are several things to watch out for in the workplace.
Here are the 8 things you need to be aware of when it comes to workplace eye wellness:
If your workplace features anything flying through the air, you need eye protection. Some workplaces with projectiles will be obvious – like an auto body shop or a construction site – but others won’t be. Take stock of your workplace and think about anything that could unexpectedly pop off and take flight. That could be a screw or bolt, or a splash of fluid, or an arrow (if you work at a bow and arrow range).
2. Bodily Fluids
Those who work at hospitals or other workplaces where blood and other bodily fluids are present, know to protect their eyes. Bloodborne pathogens are no joke and can spread disease. If you’ll be around bodily fluids for any amount of time, it’s important to wear protective goggles or glasses. Don’t assume that staying aware of your surroundings is enough.
Where chemicals are present, protective eyewear should be worn. Even if your workplace isn’t based around chemicals (like a laboratory), any exposure to chemicals is a cause for concern. No one can predict splashes, drops, or fumes that may result from handling chemicals. Your eyes are too important to risk chemicals without proper protection.
While particles could be classified as a projectile, it’s a less obvious threat and therefore worthy of its entry. Wood, concrete, dust, and more can get into your eyes and cause great harm to your vision. If you’re in a workplace where raw materials are being worked on, it’s important to wear some type of protective goggles or glasses. ‘Dust’ may not seem scary on the surface, but it absolutely can be.
In the movies, encounters with radiation can result in superpowers. In real life, exposure to radiation (like lasers or UV radiation) can be disastrous for your vision. If your workplace deals in bright lights or powerful sources of heat, make sure that you have access to protective eyewear. Just like you should always wear sunglasses outdoors, you need to protect your eyes from damaging light and radiation indoors.
Technically, a flying fist, elbow, knee, foot, or paw, could also be called a ‘projectile.’ But, too often, people ignore the risk of physical contact when it comes to their eyes. If your workplace features physicality of any kind, you should be wearing protective eyewear. One errant scratch or strike and your vision could be in deep trouble.
Your workplace environment matters. Is the sun in your eyes all day? Do you not have enough light? Is the air quality poor? All of these questions should be answered and if you find that your eyes take a beating day in and day out, it’s time to look into eye protection or talk to your supervisor. Most people spend upwards of 8 hours a day at their workplace. Your health needs to come first.
Many jobs today are based on internet access and require long hours of staring straight ahead at a screen. While not as immediately threatening as a projectile or chemical splash, eye strain and fatigue can have a serious effect on your vision. Be cognizant of how many hours you’re spending in front of a screen and make sure that you’re taking frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest.
Consider the above risks and take inventory of your workplace eye wellness. If you find you should be wearing some kind of protective eyewear, start today.