When most of us think eye safety, it’s not a big leap to envision the workplace, but what about all of those projects we take on at home? Regardless of whether you are at home or on the job, eye injuries can cause permanent vision loss. Stats¹ say half of the more than one million eye injuries each year occur in the safety of our homes and 90% of all eye injuries are preventable. The injuries you sustain at home can impact your work life – a double dose of needless personal and financial injury.
Fact is, if you take on a home project you are likely to still be exposed to dust, dirt, flying debris, and other projectiles created when your project involves cutting, hammering, crushing, or other operations that generate particulate. Plus, let’s not forget that safety eyewear is also worn to provide protection from over exposure to UV and IR radiation and to protect against liquid chemical splashes. Household chemicals, including bleach, are cited to cause thousands of preventable eye injuries per year.
So here are some tips
- Always read and follow all product warnings on chemicals and equipment, and ensure safety eye wear is worn as recommended.
- Just as you do at work, select the safety eyewear according to the project. Good planning at home is important too and although less formalized processes are typically followed it is a good idea to review the scope of work to be completed with all the people involved.
- Get your safety eyewear out, ensure it is properly cleaned and in good shape, and make sure everyone who needs to use it knows how to properly wear it.
- Look for the CSA stamp on the frame of the safety glasses you are using. CSA (or ANSI) compliant safety eye wear would protect against most home eye injuries. A face shield should also be worn over safety glasses when doing outdoor work where high velocity particles may hit the face. Safety goggles provide a protective seal around the eye area, ensuring protection from particulate and liquid splashes from all angles.
- CSA approved safety eye wear should be worn whenever your work planning and hazard assessment indicates an eye safety hazard exists. You can purchase CSA approved safety glasses from your Eyesafe optometrists. You can also ask your employer if they support you bringing safety eyewear home for use.
- Be ready by including a portable emergency eyewash station and a first aid kit.
Best practice suggests that safety starts at home, and it is best started when children are young and it involves the whole family. What better place to initiate eye safety awareness than at home? Let’s stay safe out there!
Glyn Jones is a partner at EHS Partnerships Ltd. in Calgary. He is a consulting occupational health and safety professional with more than 30 years of experience. He is a regular safety conference speaker in Canada and he provides program design and instructional support to the University of New Brunswick’s OHS certificate and diploma programs.