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Protect Your Eyes On The Job

I’m Ron Wittmeyer, and today, I’d like to talk about protecting your eyesight on the construction job site. OSHA requires that every employer do a hazard assessment of all the hazards on that construction site to determine what personal protective equipment, PPE, is required to protect their employees.

And the employer, according to OSHA standards, must provide that PPE to its employees at no cost to the employee. Of course that includes eye protection.

Common causes of eye injuries

Common causes of eye injuries on a construction site are dust, dirt, metal, and woodchips. In fact, they also include anything that could fly into the eye from the various operations on a construction job site like hammering, sawing, and jackhammering.

Chemical splashes into the eye are another hazard. Swinging objects like swinging branches are yet another one. And then there is radiant energy from activities like welding.

ANSI standard Z87.1

OSHA, rather than create its own standard for eye protection, has adopted the ANSI standard Z87.1. ANSI stands for American National Standards Institute. This is another safety organization that creates and updates safety standards throughout the industry.

ANSI Z87.1 is a very extensive, comprehensive safety standard that provides standards for eye and face protection. If you want to know specifically what standards there are, check out this ANSI standard. You’ll find it easily on the Internet.

PPE options

Let’s talk about the types of eye PPE that are available. There are safety glasses and safety goggles. If you wear prescription glasses, those are not going to meet the standards of ANSI to withstand impact and protect your eyes.

In that case, you have two options: You can either have safety glasses or safety goggles that incorporate your prescription or you can find safety goggles that go over your regular prescription glasses. Of course, you could also wear contacts.

Another type of eye protection is the face shield, and then there are also laser safety goggles. Both face shields for welding specifically as well as welding and laser safety goggles are specialty items that have very specific requirements.

What you should do

If you’re involved in those types of activities, you need to look out for yourself. Take a look at the standards and make sure the PPE you’re provided meets those standards. It should say so right on the face mask or whatever PPE has been provided what standard it complies with. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email.

R.F. Wittmeyer

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