We have five senses, but we rely on our eyes far more often than anything else. So why is it that many workers don’t think that eye safety applies to them?
Every day, 2,000 workers in the U.S. experience job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment. One-third of them require treatment in emergency departments, and more than 100 of them result in days away from work. That translates to a whopping $3 million per year in lost productivity.
The irony? 90% of eye injuries can be reduced in severity – or avoided altogether – with the appropriate safety measures and personal protective equipment (PPE).
This is why March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month, to teach workers the importance of eye safety and prevent avoidable injuries and vision loss.
What Is Workplace Eye Wellness Month?
Workplace Eye Wellness Month is an event promoted through Prevent Blindness, a nonprofit focusing on vision protection and eye safety awareness.
The goal is simple: to provide employers and employees with free information on the many dangers their eyes encounter and what steps can be taken to protect their eyes. The organization focuses on three critical areas:
- Eye injury prevention
- The dangers of blue light
- Digital devices and vision
Their recommendations are designed to be simple, straightforward, and actionable. The most basic element is knowing the eye safety dangers at work by completing an eye safety risk assessment. This will give you the tools to identify relevant hazards and take steps to reduce the risks attached to them.
Why You Need Eye Safety
Most of the time, when we think of eye injuries, we think of hazardous outdoor jobs like construction or landscaping. The irony is that working in an office can be just as hazardous for your eyesight, even though there are no hazardous chemicals or flying debris.
This is because of blue light. The most common source of blue light is sunlight, which can be harmful on its own if you spend an extended period in the sun.
However, for many workers, a greater concern is blue light from screens, such as computers, phones, tablets, and other devices. Many of us spend more time staring at screens that we do in the sun–these devices are an essential part of how we do our jobs. The length of exposure, combined with the proximity of screens, can have a far greater impact on your vision more quickly than sunlight alone.
A Few Ways to Participate
The best way to participate in Workplace Eye Wellness Month is to invest in eye safety training. If you already have eye safety training, now is the perfect time to update it.
Even the little changes can make a huge difference in your eye health over time, and these are the changes your training should emphasize. For example, re-adjusting your screens to sit at a right angle away from a direct light source will make your screen gentler on the eyes.
Another good rule is 20-20-20. Every 20 minutes, you should look at a point at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds to counteract the effects of eye strain.
Protecting Eye Safety at Work
Workplace Eye Wellness Month is a great opportunity to bring awareness to eye safety, but eye safety hazards don’t wait for a specific time of year. That’s why we’re here to help you protect employees 24/7/365 with the right safety resources and software.
If you’re looking to create a brand new safety training, make sure to check out our safety training software. And if you want more eye safety tips to share at your next safety meeting, make sure to check out our blog for more great posts, like this collection of eye safety tips.