Eye and Face Protection

Thousands of people are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries that could have been prevented with the proper selection and use of eye and face protection. Eye injuries alone cost more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses, and worker compensation. OSHA requires employers to ensure the safety of all employees in the work environment. Here’s some important information about eye and face protection.

CONTROLLING A HAZARD: Controlling a hazard at its source is the best way to protect employees. Depending on the hazard or workplace conditions, OSHA recommends the use of engineering or work practice controls to manage or eliminate hazards to the greatest extent possible. For example, building a barrier between the hazard and the employees is an engineering control; changing the way in which employees perform their work is a work practice control. When engineering, work practice and administrative controls are not feasible or do not provide sufficient protection, employers must provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to their employees and ensure its use.

HOW IS PPE SELECTED FOR THE WORKPLACE?Personal protective equipment (PPE) for the eyes and face is designed to prevent or lessen the severity of injuries to workers. The employer must assess the workplace and determine if hazards that necessitate the use of eye and face protection are present or are likely to be present before assigning PPE to workers. A hazard assessment should determine the risk of exposure to eye and face hazards, including those which may be encountered in an emergency. Employers should be aware of the possibility of multiple and simultaneous hazard exposures and be prepared to protect against the highest level of each hazard.

WHAT ARE MINE AND MY EMPLOYER’S RESPONSIBILITIES FOR PPE? To ensure the greatest possible protection for employees in the workplace, the cooperative efforts of both employers and employees will help in establishing and maintaining a safe and healthful work environment. In general, employees should: (1) Properly wear PPE (2) Attend training sessions on PPE (3) Care for, clean and maintain PPE and (4) Inform a supervisor of the need to repair or replace PPE. In general, employers are responsible for: (1) Performing a “hazard assessment” of the workplace to identify and control physical and health hazards (2) Identifying and providing appropriate PPE for employees (3) Training employees in the use and care of the PPE (4) Maintaining PPE, including replacing worn or damaged PPE (5) Periodically
reviewing, updating and evaluating the effectiveness of the PPE program.

WHAT TRAINING WILL I RECEIVE ON PPE? Employers are required to train each employee who must use PPE. Employees must be trained to know at least the following: (1) When PPE is necessary (2) What PPE is necessary (3) How to properly put on, take off, adjust and wear the PPE ( 4) The limitations of the PPE (5) Proper care, maintenance, useful life and (6) Disposal of PPE.

NOTE: PPE is the last line of defense for protecting you from a hazard.

Disclaimer: The information and suggestions contained in these safety talks are believed to be reliable. However, the authors of the topics and the owners of this web site accept no legal responsibility for the correctness, sufficiency, or completeness of such information or suggestions contained within these topics. These guidelines do not supercede local, state, or federal regulations and must not be construed as a substitute for, or legal interpretation of, any OSHA regulations.