Selecting and using appropriate eye protection makes all the difference in preventing thousands of workers from being sight-impaired or blinded each year. The cost of eye injuries cost the economy of over $300 million in expenses related to medical costs, worker compensation, and lost production time each year! To protect workers from such accidents and injuries, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) established specific requirements for eye and face protection. Are you on top of these safety standards? Read on to brush up on the responsibilities!
Basics of Eye and Face Protection
Employers are legally required to provide eye and face protection (1) whenever employees are potentially exposed to eye injuries at work and (2) if existing work practices or engineering controls cannot eliminate the risk of being injured. Choosing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) must be based on the specific hazard exposure at work. These safety risks include, but are not limited to:
- Impact and penetration hazards
- Compression and chemical hazards
- Heat and harmful dust
- Light radiation and more
However, not all PPE is created equal. OSHA notes that eye and face protection must comply with the recommendations set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Look for certified eyewear that is marked by the manufacturer with the appropriate ANSI markings (Z87) and do not hinder the worker’s vision.
General Requirements of the Eye and Face Protection Standard
OSHA’s Eye and Face Protection Standard is your go-to guide for meeting the general PPE requirements. At the minimum, protective devices must:
- Adequately defend the wearer against the specific hazards they are designed for
- Be comfortable when used under designated settings
- Fit the wearer snugly and must not interfere with associated movements
- Be durable, capable of disinfection, and easily cleaned
- Meet corresponding ANSI standards
Workers and employers are recommended to consult with local regulatory authorities for complete safety guidelines.
Essentials of PPE Training
Compliance to eye and face protection standards does not end with providing the appropriate equipment. Employers are also obligated to train employees who are required to wear protective devices at work. This comprehensive PPE training must occur on an annual basis and be delivered in a manner that is easy to understand. At the least, training should include:
- Why it is important to wear eye and face protection
- How poor fitting, usage, and maintenance can compromise protection
- Specific capabilities and limitations of the PPE
- How to use the eye and face protection in case of emergency
- How to inspect, wear, remove, maintain, and store protective equipment
- How to recognize medical signs and symptoms that may limit the effectiveness of the PPE
Are you looking for eye and face protection equipment training? You’re in luck! 360training.com offers a complete range of web-based construction safety courses that meet the initial training requirements for eye and face protection. Contact us to find out which online course is ideal for your health and safety needs.