Focus on the right eyewear

One type of anti-fog goggle used in Fermilab’s Accelerator Division. File photo

March is Workplace Eye Wellness month. According to the National Safety Council, more than 2,000 people injure their eyes at work each day. About one in 10 injuries require one or more missed workdays. Of the total amount of work-related injuries, 10 to 20 percent will cause temporary or permanent vision loss.

Experts believe that the correct eye protection could have lessened the severity or even prevented 90 percent of those eye injuries.

Though Fermilab has an effective eye safety program, we can do more to prevent eye injuries. In the last two years the laboratory has had nine eye injuries. Three of them were recordable cases and the other six required first-aid treatment. This was out of a total of 90 first-aid cases and 36 recordable injuries. That translates into eye injuries accounting for six percent of first-aid and eight percent of recordable cases. Most of those injuries involved were foreign objects striking the eye.

Fermilab relies on hazard analyses, safety procedures and the posting of warning signs to identify the type of eye protection needed. Some Fermilab organizations, such as the Technical Division’s Machine Shop, impose strict requirements on the type of safety eyewear that may be used. It is best to check with your supervisor for your eyewear requirements.

You can get safety wear in a variety of ways. Non-prescription safety glasses are available from the Fermilab stockroom in clear, amber or dark (optical density 3) lenses. Organizations at Fermilab may purchase other non-prescription eyewear as approved by their division or section Senior Safety Officer. Prescription safety eyewear is available from a vendor that is onsite from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesdays in Wilson Hall in the ground floor ES&H Training Room.

— John Dawson