There is a reason construction jobs generally pay well – it’s hard work, often requires physical strength, and it carries safety risks. While workers may think about the obvious threats such as falling off a platform or slipping with a nail gun, injuries to the eyes are often tiny, fast, and totally unexpected…but because of vision loss, they are every bit as debilitating. In fact, 20% of all eye injuries take place in a construction environment, about 60% of which are the result of using NO eye protection.
These stats demonstrate the importance of construction eye safety on the job site so consider these threats to vision safety while working:
- Flying Particles – Objects such as metal shards off a spinning blade, sawdust, sand and dust can fly at you before you have a chance to even blink, travelling speeds of up to 10,000 feet per second. Even though the most damaging objects are typically smaller than a pin head, the speed makes them impossible to avoid by blinking, and likely to implant in the eye very deeply.
- Eye Burns – Hot or molten bits of metal or chemicals can cause blindness, even temporary. For example, when a spraying a harsh chemical onto an object, it can bounce back toward your face and right into the eyes. Wind and chemical spray are also a lethal combination for your eyes (and skin as well).
- Bright Flashes – Welding arcs and sudden flash fires are lethal to the eyes. Brightness, sparks, fires, and floating embers can cause permanent damage to eye tissue. Always take care when fuelling up equipment like a generator – a spark or exposure to heat can cause a flash fire.
- Sun damage — Working outside all day brings inherent risks to the eyes (and skin!), such as keratitis, eye cancer, cataracts, or macular degeneration.
While eye risks may appear to be small, temporary blindness can make it hard to find a cell phone to call for help, or even be sure you don’t fall off that platform. Don’t be one of the statistics — always wear CSA approved safety glasses on any construction site.
And remember, be “eye safe”!