March: Workplace Eye Health and Safety Month

With all eyes on workplace eye health and safety for the month of March, it’s the perfect time to double-check your own policies and procedures regarding eye safety and health in your workplace.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 2,000 U.S. workers receive job-related eye injuries each day. That’s a scary thought if one of those eye injuries occurs to one of our employees.

Taking the time now to examine your current policies to safeguard the health and wellbeing of your employees eyes can save your business the morale hit, absenteeism, and loss of productivity that often accompany injuries on the job, not to mention it can help you to reduce your workers’ compensation claims.

Keep these things in mind as you review your eye health and safety plans.

Proper Protection for the Eyes is not an Option

In many fields, proper eye protection is a matter of course. It’s a requirement of the job — or it should be. If your business operates in an industry with loose debris flying around, dust, bodily fluids, hazardous chemicals, hot cooking grease, and similar hazards, then it’s necessary for your employees to wear proper protection for their eyes.

Other industries, such as those that work with fiber optics or welding material, require specialized eye protection. Know the field you’re working in and the latest technology available for the protection of your employees. They are, after all, your company’s biggest asset, so you definitely want to protect them.

Specific instances where protective eyewear or face shields are necessary include:

  • Walking through job site areas where risks are elevated.
  • Exposing eyes to flying objects and particles in the air.
  • Using chemicals and fluids that can splash into the eyes.
  • Working with radiation from welding, lasers, and the like.

The CDC urges workers to “Brush, shake, or vacuum dust and debris from hard hats, hair, forehead, or the top of the eye protection before removing the protection.” This additional step is one more layer of protection to prevent damage to the eyes from secondary activities.

Steps Businesses Must Take to Protect Employees’ Eyes

Protecting your employees is a huge responsibility for small business owners. The best way to do this is by creating a set of policies that place safety first, above all else. More importantly, though, you must also follow the policies and procedures regarding eye health and safety (as well as all other safety policies) as an example to the people who work for you.

It’s not enough to write down a list of rules. Employees need to see the rules in action and understand that there are consequences for not following those rules. Include the consequences in the policies manual too, so that there is no doubt, among employees, that your business takes safety seriously.

You must also include procedures and practices for first aid and follow-up after eye injuries occur. While prevention is the best cure, employees need to know the proper steps to take when accidents happen. With the focus of March on eye health and safety, this is the perfect month to make sure everyone knows the drill.

Despite your best efforts and intentions, there are times when employee eye injuries happen on the job. During these times, it’s absolutely essential that you have adequate workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Speak to us today about this very important coverage.