Onsite employees must protect their eyes from hazards related to impact, chemicals, heat, dust, and optical radiation.
The predominant value of PLH Group — an industry-leading, energy construction company serving the electric power line, pipeline, oil field electrical, and industrial markets — is the health and safety of all employees. The organization continuously builds upon its preventative measures to ensure sustained protection of workers on the jobsite and in the office environment.
Though health and safety risks differ for employees based on job description and work environment, potential risks to eye health is a constant focus. PLH Group observes March’s Workplace Eye Wellness Month, an annual Prevent Blindness initiative, to remind all employees of the potential dangers to eye health.
Office employees must protect their eyes from digital eye strain and other effects of overexposure to blue light.
“When we think of eye safety, we often focus on the crews performing manual work on the jobsite,” said Elsie Bentley, vice president of Safety, Health, and Environmental. “However, PLH Group values the safety of all employees, both in the office and on site. Just because the office environment doesn’t have as many hazardous variables, that doesn’t mean there aren’t protective measures we should consider. A perfect example of this is eye wellness.”
According to Health and Safety Institute, more than 2,000 workers incur eye injuries each day. 10-20% of these injuries cause temporary or permanent vision loss. 90% could have been avoided or lessened in severity if proper eye protection was worn.
OSHA’s Eye and Face Protection eTool assists workers in selecting the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to wear for each task, including safety goggles and spectacles, face shields, welding protection, and glare protection.
Employees who spend a lot of time on an electronic device should consider screen filters, computer glasses, and anti-reflective lenses to protect eyes from blue light.
Individual and team hazard assessments should be performed prior to the start of each task and should consider multiple hazard exposures.
When determining appropriate eye and face PPE, always choose the protective equipment that defends workers against the most severe risk.
PPE, though, is not the only defense against eye injuries. Discuss the following considerations with your team:
Ensure that tools and equipment are in good, working order.
Schedule regular eye exams, as recommended by your doctor.
Drink plenty of water, and use eye drops, if needed.
Avoid working with or near toxic chemicals, when possible.
Effectively ventilate areas with high concentrations of dust or fumes with exhaust hoods or fans. Wear a respirator, when appropriate.
Avoid equipment contact with the face and eyes by putting safety barriers in place.
Assess the task’s impact on eye wellness.
Avoid overexposure of blue light, which could lead to digital eye strain and retina damage, when working on electronic devices for long periods of time by following the 20-20-20 rule.
PLH Group places health and safety at the core of all organization-wide decision making. The organization takes time, especially during March’s Workplace Eye Wellness Month, to educate and provide resources and protective equipment for all employees to be effectively protected against risks to eye health and safety.