Did you know March is Save Your Vision Awareness Month? According to Occupational Health and Safety, eye injuries account for 25 percent of all welding injuries, making them by far the most common injury for welders. Constructors are at risk for eye injuries too. Working around debris and in the direct sunlight can also impact vision.
At JGM, safety is job number one, which is why we are highlighting five steps that can be taken to protect the eyes on (or off) the jobsite.
Tip #1 – Wear Eye Protection
In the construction and steel fabrication industry, personal protection equipment (PPE) is critical. Since the main types of welding produce ultraviolet, visible spectrum and infrared radiation, welders or fabricators working in the shop should always wear proper eye protection. UV safety glasses with side shields can be worn under welding helmets for increased protection. “Welder’s flash” is real and leads to swollen, painful eyes and in some instances permanent retinal damage. Protect your vision and always wear approved, UV protected safety glasses and welding helmets in a fabrication shop.
Constructors in the field also need to take measures to protect their eyesight. Long-term exposure to the sun can damage the skin around the eyes as well as contribute to the development of cataracts, growths on the eye and even macular degeneration. Sunglasses should always be worn when in the sun. For the best protection, experts recommend purchasing sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays as well as screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light.
Not only is light a concern, but metal shops and construction jobsites often have debris and chemicals that can get in eyes and cause damage. It is important to always be aware of the materials in your environment and wear PPE to protect against any injuries or harm.
Tip #2 – Limit Screen Time
The industrial construction and steel fabrication industries are fast paced with many moving parts. While it is critical for team members and clients to stay connected, spending too much time staring at a phone, tablet or computer screen can negatively impact eye health. According to the American Optometric Association, individuals should implement the 20/20/20 rule, which includes taking a break from your screen every 20 minutes and focusing on something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Tip #3 – Stay Hydrated During the Workday
Did you know dehydration leads to less lubrication in the eyes, which causes irritation, blurred vision and even headaches? During the workday, make it a point to regularly drink water to stay hydrated. Your body and eyes will thank you!
Tip #4 – Quit Smoking
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, smoking tobacco increases an individual’s risk for glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and optic nerve problems. Quitting smoking can reduce the risk of these eye health conditions and improve one’s vision.
Tip #5 – Visit an Eye Doctor
While there are many steps constructors and fabricators can take to protect their eyesight, one of the most important is to visit an eye doctor on a regular basis. While you may not experience issues with your eyes or vision, eye doctors have the knowledge and tools to diagnose conditions that can go unnoticed, such as glaucoma.
Making Protecting Your Vision Job #1
In honor of Save Your Vision Awareness Month, consider implementing the highlighted eye safety tips. Vision is a vital tool for not only completing daily tasks, but also for observing the beauty around us. Make your eye health and vision a priority today!
To learn more about how JGM keeps our team members healthy and safe both in our shop and on jobsites, visit our Safety page!