In the Blink of an Eye

By:Anita HawkinsCategories: Safety Tips

Off-the-job safety is just as important as workplace safety. Workers who apply safe practices at home experience fewer missed days from work and are least likely to become victim of common household accidents. According to the organization, Prevent Blindness America, September is Home Eye Safety Awareness Month.  Their goal is to remind everyone that eye safety is not just for the workplace. Everyone should be aware of the eye-damaging hazards in their own homes.

Often times, we take safety for granted when working around our homes. While doing chores we have done thousands of times, we forget that we are putting ourselves at risk when we do not wear protective equipment. In a recent study by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), it was discovered that only 35 percent of homeowners surveyed always wear protective eyewear when doing home repair projects and chores.

Almost 40 percent of home eye injuries occur in the yard or garden. Debris from lawn mowers and power trimmers can unexpectedly fly into the eye at a high rate of speed. Even small particles can cause damage to the eyes.

Another common way our eyes get injured is by exposing them to hazardous chemicals. Dangerous chemicals such as bleach, cleaning solutions and sprays can get into eyes causing burns. Accidents involving common household products cause 125,000 eye injuries each year. Chemical burns can lead to visual impairment and disfiguration of the eye and face. Other long-term complications include chronic dry eye and glaucoma.

When should you wear eye protection? You should always wear properly fitted eye protection, such as safety glasses when performing (or watching) any of the following:

  • Doing work that may produce particles or slivers from materials like wood, metal, plastic, cement, drywall or glass
  • Hammering, sanding, grinding and other masonry tasks
  • Working with chemicals, even household products, like ammonia, oven cleaners and bleach
  • Using a lawnmower, high powered gardening devices and string trimmers
  • Working with power tools or other machinery that could produce projectiles

Did you know there are other, less common, household accidents that might result in eye injuries and blindness? According to the AAO, thousands of people suffer eye injuries each year because of loose rugs and railings that have caused slips and falls into objects that have entered the eye. Other home-based eye injuries are caused by cooking foods that can splatter hot grease or oil, opening champagne bottles, using curling irons around your face and participating in some sports.

Debilitating eye injuries can happen in seconds. However, 90 percent of all eye injuries are preventable with appropriate eye protection. Whether at home or at work, remember that certain tasks require eye protection. Contact the Safety Pros for more information on protective eyewear and other personal protection equipment.

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