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Do you know how to protect your eyes in the workplace?

August is National Children's Eye Health and Safety Month, but children aren't the only people who should protect their vision. Adults should also protect their eyes both in and out of the workplace by seeking appropriate vision care and wearing the right protective gear at work.

Of course, the first step to protecting your eyes in the workplace is understanding the hazards so you can choose the right protective gear. Do you need to wear safety googles, or is more extensive protection such as a helmet and face guard appropriate?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration breaks eye hazards in the workplace into five overall categories that can help you determine what safety procedures and equipment are necessary. One category is dust, and that includes small particles and debris that could be harmful to the eye. Examples of this type of hazard include sawdust during woodworking or the general dust present during renovations. You can protect your eyes against irritation and scratches by wearing safety glasses in such work environments, and it's a good idea to have an eye washing station or procedure in place.

Impact is another category of eye danger. Impact occurs when tools or materials come into contact with the eye and cause trauma. Chipped wood or metal or large fragments of any surface can cause this problem. Safety glasses are important in such environments, and in extreme situations, a face guard or helmet might be required. Heat is another hazard, and it can occur in any area where high temperatures are prevalent. Other hazards include chemicals and optical radiation; these last three hazards usually require slightly more protection than a simple pair of safety glasses.

Wearing the right equipment can help you prevent damage to your eyes in a work related accident. If you do suffer an eye injury in such an incident, then workers' compensation benefits might be helpful. Working with an employment lawyer to understand how best to seek ample benefits can help you recover financially at a time when you are fighting to recover physically.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Selecting PPE for the Workplace," accessed Aug. 19, 2016

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