July is national Eye Injury Prevention Month. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, around 90% of workplace eye injuries could be prevented by the use of protective eyewear. Personal protective equipment (PPE) can prevent traumatic injuries that cause longterm damage and, in some cases, permanent blindness.
In the healthcare industry, workers are at risk of contracting eye diseases from blood splashes and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM), such as saliva from a sneeze. If contaminated fluids reach the mucous membranes of the eye, it is possible to contract life-threatening illnesses such as HIV, Hepatitis, or avian influenza. Healthcare workers sometimes deal with dangerous chemicals, which can also cause serious injury to the eyes if exposure occurs.
The first step in improving eye injury prevention efforts in hospitals and other healthcare facilities is to identify all potential hazards. A full audit of your facility and all employee procedures is necessary in order to identify every situation in which an eye injury could potentially occur. It is also helpful to look back at company records to indicate where/how eye injuries have already occurred in the past.
Once you’ve identified and assessed potential hazards, the next step is to choose and allocate funding for adequate personal protective equipment. We recommend goggles or safety glasses. All eye protection should be fitted specifically for the individual, or adjustable so that it can fit all users. Then, it’s imperative that all employees are trained on the importance and proper use of their new personal protective equipment.
OccuMed New England offers a number of safety training programs for the healthcare industry. That includes personal protective equipment (PPE) training. We also perform occupational safety audits to help you identify hazards in your workplace. Contact us today at (833) 622-8633 or browse our website to learn more about the services we offer. We’re looking forward to helping you reduce eye injuries and make your workplace safer this July!