An eye injury can be a life-altering event. Chemical burns, embedded foreign objects, welder’s flash, and impact injuries can result in anything from minor irritation to full vision loss. There is also potential exposure to biohazards that can uniquely impact vision and adversely impact a person’s health.

The eyes along with the nose and mouth provide an entry point on the body for contaminants to enter. Whether contacting the pupil or the mucous membrane surrounding it, the eye can easily become a pathway to bloodborne pathogens, viruses, and unhealthy bacteria that make a person ill and change their quality of life.

We have all heard the statistics: 2/3 of all preventable eye injuries occurred because of the lack of wearing the correct, or, for that matter, any eye protection. With our vision and our health at stake, it can be difficult to understand why eye protection is not worn more often.

Employees will often state their reasons for not wanting to wear eye protection:

  • It’s hot and the lenses fog
  • It’s cold and the lenses fog or build up condensation
  • The glasses don’t stay in place and slide down
  • The glasses don’t fit properly
  • The temples, nose piece, and/or frame cause irritation or pain
  • The risk is less than the discomfort of having to wear them
  • The need for safety eyewear is not recognized
  • “I haven’t worn them for xx years and I’m not going to start now”

All of these excuses come down to three causes:

1)     The eyewear does not fit the wearer

2)     The eyewear does not function properly or well

3)     The eyewear does not feel comfortable

So, employees are willing to play the odds or just ignore the hazards. In addition, supervisors and managers will condone or ignore the not wearing of the appropriate PPE or have not matched the PPE to the actual hazards.

Providing and using the PPE requires a team effort. Wearing PPE cannot just be mandated by people sitting in an office. Wearing PPE cannot be mandated when it doesn’t protect from the actual risk. Wearing PPE cannot be mandated without understanding the hazards and the role of PPE in the life of the employee.

For both compliance purposes and for best business practices, an employer must conduct an effective risk assessment. OSHA requires it for compliance but having risk assessment findings also protects the business, the employer, and the supervisor/manager from criminal and civil liabilities. Identifying the hazards and addressing the exposures properly will lower injury and health risks, demonstrate to employees that they are valued by the employer, and better ensure compliance with regulatory agencies.

In the Water Treatment/Supply sector, a properly conducted risk assessment will identify hazards within general work areas and within specifically designed tasks. Common hazards that are already known within this sector include:

  • Safety hazards – stationary and mobile equipment uses; poor illumination; poor workplace design, changing weather conditions
  • Physical hazards – excessive noise, heat, or cold; hot water; wet, slippery conditions; welding exposures of UV, infrared, radiation energy, falling or blowing objects
  • Chemical hazards – mixing, spraying, handling corrosives and toxic chemicals, pressurized lines, employee training on storage, handling, and transporting
  • Biological hazards – handling microorganisms in systems, contact with bacteria, viruses, improperly disposed prescription medications
  • Electrical hazards – exposure to electricity and water; shock, electrocution; arc flash; burns
  • Ergonomic hazards – poor positioning during assigned tasks, moving awkward/heavy objects, exposure to vibrating equipment

If an effective risk assessment is conducted, employers and employees will be aware of the hazards and exposure potential along with knowing how to be protected from those identified hazards. Often, eye protection is only part of the protection level needed. When working in areas with risks of blowing dust, dirt, chemical sprays, and splashing chemicals and contaminants (including water) or other particulates (fines from a grinding wheel, vibrating rust, metals), eye protection needs to be partnered with face protection. Safety eyewear and face protection go together; one is not a substitute for the other – ever!

To assist you in finding and fitting protective eyewear and face protection for your team, Mechanix Wear has the perfect remedy.

First, Mechanix Wear leads in innovative designs for fitting eyewear to people. Our "Vision" eyewear line offers styles that fit various facial forms and sizes for the perfect fit, feel, and function. Departing from the norm in eyewear design used by its competitors, we invested years in our own design engineering and engaging front-line employees to create “Vision” in-house with our own unique molds and technological advances.

Vision eyewear is designed in four frame styles - Type-N, Type-X, Type-V, and Type-E. It is designed to fit, feel, and function well for anyone’s facial features. Lenses are available in tints and colors to match specific lighting conditions. All the glasses are designed for high-impact hazards, are anti-fog, and scratch-resistant, and protect the wearer from 99.9% ultra-violet ray emissions.

When additional protection is needed from flying debris or liquid splashing, Mechanix Wear pairs a clear nylon face shield that protects from high-impact and high-temperature hazards. It is rated to protect the wearer’s eyes and face from both flying debris and chemical splashing.

Another perfect pairing is with the Mechanix Wear TRACK program. Our PPE experts pair with you in partnership to identify the hazards and recommend the appropriate PPE solutions. Participating in TRACK does not require anything other than your desire to work with our PPE professionals. Once solutions are identified, you can do trials with those solutions by engaging your front-line employees before ever having to make a purchase. You cannot go wrong in having Mechanix Wear work with you in this effort.

Eye hazards are unique in the Water Treatment/Supply sector. Mechanix Wear offers unique, technologically advanced solutions to address those hazards. Get in touch with us today!