Eye injuries in the workplace can cause health problems for people. Research from The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) shows that every day more than 2,000 workers experience eye injuries that require medical treatment.
However, using proper eye protection and following safe workplace practices can prevent at least 90% of these injuries. For this reason, we have put together a helpful guide that will help you protect your eyes at work.
Assessing Potential Eye Hazard in the Workplace
Several aspects of the workplace might cause eye injuries. For instance, if you are working on a construction site or a mining factory, things like dust, concrete, or other particles might enter your eyes and potentially damage them.
In other cases, harmful chemicals like certain cleaning products might splash into your eyes. It is vital to assess the nature of these risks with your employer’s support and take the necessary safety measure to prevent eye injury.
By law, depending on the industry you work in, your employer might be required to conduct a COSHH (Control of Substances that are Hazardous to Health) risk assessment. To comply with legal requirements, you might be asked to carry out health and safety checks in your workplace prior to the start of your working day.
Moreover, under the requirements of The Health and Safety at Work Act, your employer must provide you with personal protective equipment (PPE), which can include safety goggles, face shields and safety glasses.
Preventing Computer Vision Syndrome
A considerable part of our jobs often consists of using a computer. While this makes our work more effective, it might also pose a threat to our eye health. Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is a common and growing problem that can cause sore, dry, and red eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and slowness in changing your eyes’ focus.
Taking vision breaks from your computer screen is a fantastic way to tackle CVS. For every 10 minutes of work, you can focus on something at least 10 feet away from you for 10 seconds. This is known as the 10-10-10 rule.
Your employer has the legal requirement to protect your eyes from the health and safety risks of working with Display Screen Equipment (DSE), such as computers, tablets and smartphones.
The Health and Safety DSE Regulations apply to workers who use DSE daily, for an hour or more at a time. If you are a DSE user, your employer must carry out a DSE workstation assessment, provide you with an eye test if you need one, and provide you with relevant training and information.
It is vital to understand the early symptoms of visual impairment. You can read our article about National Save Your Vision Month to learn more about the early signs of visual impairment and the wealth of valuable resources available to the public.
For further support on finding a career that suits your disability, have a read of our disability advice hub, and visit our disabled jobs board for opportunities with inclusive employers in the UK.