This month’s Safety Focused newsletter offers guidance for protecting your eyes on the job and tips to promote workplace fire safety.
How to Protect Your Eyes at Work
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, nearly 2,000 U.S. employees across industry lines experience work-related eye injuries that require medical treatment each day. These injuries can stem from a variety of hazards—including projectiles (e.g., dust, metal or wood), chemicals, radiation, bloodborne pathogens and even electronic devices.
Nevertheless, eye doctors confirm that utilizing proper safety precautions can help prevent or reduce the severity of 90% of work-related eye injuries. With this in mind, consider the following guidance for protecting your eyes at work and avoiding painful injuries:
- Know the risks—Make sure you are fully aware of any eye-related hazards within your workplace. Knowing the potential dangers that come with your specific job responsibilities is important to help you understand how to reduce your unique risks.
- Utilize proper protection—Be sure to wear adequate eye protection for the task or hazard at hand. Potential protective eyewear options include safety glasses, goggles, face shields and helmets. Regardless of which form of protective eyewear is required, ensure you know how to properly put on, use, store and maintain it. Inform your supervisor if your eye protection gets lost or damaged.
- Follow workplace safety measures—Apart from wearing eye protection, it’s also crucial to follow any workplace policies and procedures regarding eye safety. This includes using machine guards or any other engineering controls.
- Avoid eye strain—Especially if you work in an office setting and utilize electronic devices throughout the day, be sure to take routine breaks away from the screen to avoid digital eye strain.
- Be prepared—If you or a co-worker experiences an eye-related injury on the job, inform your supervisor and seek medical attention immediately.
If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding eye safety at work, consult your supervisor.
Workplace Fire Safety Guidance
A fire can wreak havoc on practically any building—including your workplace. And because fires can develop at such a rapid pace, failure to follow effective prevention and response techniques can further exacerbate the spread of the flames, resulting in employee injuries and—in some instances—death.
That’s why it’s vital for workers like you to play your part in promoting proper fire safety measures on the job. Be sure to utilize these tips to help prevent workplace fires and mitigate the damages in the event that one does occur:
- Stay informed—Make sure you pay attention during any workplace fire safety training. This might include fire drills, instructions on when to pull the fire alarm or best practices for using a fire extinguisher. In addition, regularly review any written resources, such as the building’s emergency evacuation plan or the company smoking policy.
- Keep it clean—Cluttered work areas create fire hazards for multiple reasons. First, workplace clutter (e.g., extra papers, empty containers or overflowing garbage cans) can easily add extra fuel to an existing fire. Second, excess clutter can restrict or block emergency exits, making it difficult for employees like you to escape in the event of a fire. With this in mind, try to keep your work area as clean and organized as possible. Encourage your co-workers to do the same.
- Reduce electrical risks—Electrical issues are another common fire hazard, especially in workplaces that rely heavily on various forms of technology (e.g., computers, printers and copy machines). As such, make sure you avoid overloading electrical outlets in the workplace and report any damaged wiring or technology malfunction issues immediately. Doing so will allow electrical hazards to be fixed before they become severe.
- Beware of equipment hazards—Equipment breakdown incidents are also key workplace fire hazards. To reduce the risk of equipment-related fires, follow inspection and maintenance requirements for all equipment, and inform your supervisor if you notice any concerns. Never use damaged equipment.
- Know how to respond—In the event that a fire does occur in the workplace, be sure to follow the building’s emergency evacuation plan. Stay calm and listen to your supervisor for further instructions.
For more workplace fire safety guidance, talk to your supervisor.
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