Eye Safety at Work - Overview

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  • Every day an estimated 1,000 eye injuries occur in the North American workplace.
  • With proper eyewear, it is estimated that 90 per cent of these injuries could be prevented.
  • Wearing the wrong kind of eye protection can be just as hazardous as not wearing any protection at all.
  • Approximately 5 per cent of eye injuries will be debilitating enough to interfere with work on a short or long-term basis.

Stay informed, stay safe

In 2006, nearly 3,000 people in Ontario alone sustained eye injuries on the job, resulting in lost time and, in some cases, either temporary or permanent vision loss. These figures are sobering given that the majority of eye injuries are preventable.

Causes of eye injuries at work

Common causes of workplace eye injuries are:

  • Flying objects, such as bits of metal, glass, stone or wood
  • Unsafe handling of tools
  • Particles such as sand or sawdust
  • Chemical splashes
  • Radiation
  • Sparks and slag from welding and cutting
  • Pipes and wire sticking out of walls
  • Objects hanging from ceilings
  • Sun and wind

Protect your eyes

Luckily, there are things you can do to decrease these dangers on the job. First of all, be aware of hazards in your workplace and use proper eye protection. Choose protective eyewear that is designed for the specific duty or hazard, and make sure it fits and is worn consistently. Protective eyewear used in Canada must meet Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards.

Visit our Safety Eyewear page for more information about eye protection on the job.

Other ways of protecting your eyes and your vision in the workplace include following the safety procedures for your workplace and knowing the location of eyewash stations and first-aid equipment, knowing how to use them. Most importantly, know your rights and responsibilities with respect to workplace safety.