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									Eye Protection - PPE

Hazard Assessment Because workers who wear protective eyewear still suffer injuries, how much protection is enough? To answer that question, begin with a hazard assessment to determine which of several eye hazards exist for each job:
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Dust, concrete, metal and other particles; Chemicals such as acids, bases, fuels, solvents, lime and wet or dry cement powder; Falling or shifting debris, building materials and glass; Smoke and noxious or poisonous gases; Welding light and electrical arcs; Thermal hazards and fires; and Bloodborne pathogens (hepatitis or HIV) from blood, body fluids and human remains.

The following points should be included in any workplace assessment of the risks involved:
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Identify and record hazards by routine workplace inspections Assess risks such as how easily could someone be hurt Control those risks by elimination, isolation, or minimisation Install engineering controls to reduce eye injury risk as the first line of defence Where engineering or other controls are not possible eye protection will be necessary Always insist on wearing effective eye protection suitable for the situation. Refer AS/NZS 1336 Train and educate those required to work in eye hazard situations. Ensure that eye protection devices are properly maintained and replaced when necessary (refer ASNZS 1336) Where necessary ensure that eye safety emergency procedures and equipment is readily available Develop eye safety programmes in consultation with workers Review the policies periodically to ensure they remain relevant

Eye protection procedures
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Select only those eye protection devices that comply with a recognised standard e.g. AS/NZS 1337:1992 or ANSI Z87.1 Ensure the eye protection is maintained in good condition Make sure eye protection devices are worn properly Have eye safety emergency procedures in place If necessary have eyewash equipment readily available

Types of Protection To ensure that workers wear the proper type of protective eyewear, the following list provides a starting point: Safety glasses: Safety glasses with side protection provide minimum protection and are for general working conditions where there may be minor dust, chips or flying particles. Side protection includes side shields and wraparound-style safety glasses.


Safety glasses should have an anti-fog treatment. Polycarbonate lenses are lightweight and provide the best impact protection, but generally are not as scratch-resistant as glass unless treated with a hard coating. Goggles: Goggles provide higher impact, dust and chemical splash protection than safety glasses. Goggles for splash or fine dust protection should have indirect venting. Use direct-vented goggles for less fogging when working with large particles. Safety goggles designed after ski-type goggles with high air flow minimize fogging while providing better particle and splash protection than glasses. Safety glass users should graduate to goggles when there is more than occasional particle hazards, such as when cutting wood. The assessment, in many cases, comes down to the severity of the hazard. Hybrid safety glasses or goggles: Safety glasses with foam or rubber around the lenses provide better protection from dust and flying particles than conventional safety glasses. Wraparound safety glasses that convert to goggles with a soft plastic or rubber face seal may offer better peripheral vision than conventional goggles. Prescription safety glasses: Workers who wear non-safety prescription glasses should wear tight-fitting goggles over the glasses. Because contact lenses may present a significant corneal abrasion risk when working in dusty areas, contact lens wearers should wear unvented goggles. Wear goggles over prescription safety glasses in high-dust environments. If worn alone, prescription safety glasses should have side protection. Prescription safety lenses with tempered glass or acrylic plastic lenses are not suitable for high impact. Do not use these types of safety glasses when working in debris areas unless covered by goggles or a face shield. Use polycarbonate lenses when working in high-impact areas. Face shields: When protecting the eyes, don't forget to guard against injuries to the face. For highest impact protection, face shields protect the full face from spraying, chipping, grinding and critical chemicals or bloodborne hazards. Never wear face shields, which provide secondary protection, without primary eye protection (safety glasses or goggles). Wear safety glasses or goggles under face shields to provide protection when the shield is lifted. Primary protection helps prevent particles that get under the shield from lodging in the eyes. Specialty protection: Use other types of protection, such as filtered helmets or goggles, for tasks such as welding or working with lasers. Lenses for welding light protection must be marked with an appropriate "shade number" for the task. Remember to protect the eyes even when the helmet is lifted. Welder's helpers, other workers and bystanders should have welding light protection when near torch cutting or welding.


Special purpose eyewear for radiation hazards and lasers Tinted goggles or safety glasses are required for use where there is UV radiation such as solar radiation or sun glare.
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Use wrap around glasses or goggles marked as protecting against UV light Protection for laser light hazards is a specialised area requiring special advice from equipment suppliers

Welding helmets Special purpose eyewear, marked as complying with a recognised standard, will provide protection against UV radiation from welding;
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Exposure to welding light can cause severe burns to the eye. Known as “flash burn” or “arc eye”. Lens for welding must be marked with the shade number. i.e. 1.5 – 14, where 14 = darkest shade Use the darkest shade possible Ensure that eye protection is afforded when the helmet is up protecting against hot fragments while chipping Available with head protection as well (see AS/NZS 1336 sec. 1.6)

Full Face Respirators Full-face respirators, marked as complying with a recognised standard, will have been type tested and will protect in special circumstances requiring respiratory protection as well. (see AS/NZS 1715)
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A full-face respirator will provide the best protection in general dust, chemical, and smoke environments The full-face respirator will be necessary to protect against chemical vapours, liquids, or caustic dust The face piece must have compliant impact protection and the correct respiratory filter

What are the pros and cons of the different lenses?

Comparison of Lens Materials Material Polycarbonate           Characteristics Strongest material for impact resistance Lightweight Can be coated for scratch resistance Most have built-in UV radiation protection About one-half the weight of glass Resistant to solvents and pitting More choices for coatings and tinting High-density material (heavy lenses) Loses impact resistance if scratched Does not meet impact criteria




What should I know about the fit and care of safety glasses? If eye protection is required, establish a complete eye safety protection program including selection, fit testing, training, maintenance and inspection. Fit


Ensure your safety glasses fit properly. Eye size, bridge size and temple length all vary. Safety glasses should be individually assigned and fitted. Wear safety glasses so that the temples fit comfortably over the ears. The frame should be as close to the face as possible and adequately supported by the bridge of the nose.

Care Safety glasses need maintenance.
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Clean your safety glasses daily. Follow the manufacturer's instructions. Avoid rough handling that can scratch lenses. Scratches impair vision and can weaken lenses. Store your safety glasses in a clean, dry place where they cannot fall or be stepped on. Keep them in a case when they are not being worn. Replace scratched, pitted, broken, bent or ill-fitting glasses. Damaged glasses interfere with vision and do not provide protection. Replace damaged parts only with identical parts from the original manufacturer to ensure the same safety rating.

Ensure a Proper Fit One way to make sure that safety glasses provide adequate protection is for them to fit properly. Safety glasses should rest firmly on top of the nose and close to, but not against, the face. The nose piece should not slide down the face due to sweat or moisture. If the glass slides down even a small amount, the user will lose some protection. Safety glasses should have a three-point fit, meaning the frame should touch the face in three places - at the nose bridge and behind each ear. Temples should wrap around the head, with slight pressure behind the ear, not above the ear. Protective eyewear works best when employees know how to use it properly. Employers should ensure proper training for employees. Combined with machine guards, screened or divided work stations, and other engineering controls, using the correct protective eyewear can help keep workers safe from any type of eye hazard. Don't Forget To:

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Brush, shake or vacuum dust and debris from hard hats, hair, the forehead or the top of the eye protection before removing the protector. Avoid rubbing eyes with dirty hands or clothing. Clean eyewear regularly and ensure the protector is in good condition. Ensure eye protection fits properly and will stay in place.

Source: NIOSH



Workers who wear prescription lens need special consideration when eye safety policies are developed

FIRST AID FOR EYE INJURIES Knowing what to do in an eye emergency can save valuable time and possibly prevent vision loss. The following guidance on basic eye injury first aid is not a complete list
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Be prepared Wear eye protection, where it is required, at all times Establish an emergency eye safety plan in your workplace Do not assume that an eye injury is harmless. When in doubt seek medical advice immediately


Routine irritations such as sand or dust
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Wash your hands before touching the eyelids to examine or to flush the eye Treat minor irritations by letting tears wash it out otherwise begin flushing the eye. When in doubt err on the side of caution and seek medical advice Do not try to remove any foreign body except by flushing • Try lifting the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower lid Do not rub the eye Flushing can be achieved by pouring a steady stream of lake warm water over the eye. Any clean water and any clean receptacle is acceptable Continue to flush for 15 minutes

Embedded foreign body
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Call emergency medical help immediately Do not wash out the eye with water or any other liquid Do not attempt to remove the object that is stuck in the eye Lightly cover both eyes to prevent movement of the eyes Keep patient calm until help arrives

Chemical exposure
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Immediately flush the eyes with luke warm water. Hold the eye open as wide as possible while flushing. Continue for at least 15 minutes Use any clean container and any clean water, as speed is the essence in saving eyesight from chemicals Do not use an eyecup If a contact lens is in the eye begin flushing over the lens immediately. This may wash away the lens Do not bandage over the eye Seek immediate medical treatment Check the Safety Data Sheet to get information about the chemicals involved

Blow to the eye
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Apply a cold compress without any pressure on the eye Crushed ice in a clean plastic bag can be rested gently on the injured eye Continue with compress for 24 to 48 hours If pain persists or vision is impaired seek medical advice


EMERGENCY PLANNING FOR EYE SAFETY Under the Health and Safety in Employment Act an employer is required to develop procedures for dealing with emergencies that may arise while employees are at work and to provide information about what to do if an emergency arises. The following points should be noted:
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Having the proper facilities and emergency procedures in place may save a person’s eyesight When a person’s eyes are accidentally exposed to a chemical panic sets in Vision is immediately impaired and they cannot see where they are going Assistance may not be immediately available Eyewash bottles are not a good substitute for plumbed eyewash stations People using chemicals must be aware of the hazards involved and how to treat an eye injury accident

THE ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENTS OF AN EYEWASH STATION An eyewash station should comply with the following general principles:
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The water supply should be of potable quality The control valve must be capable of being quickly located and operated hands free, and fully activated in one second or less Provide flushing of both eyes simultaneously There should be no sharp objects in the area A controlled flow of water must be provided to both eyes at a pressure low enough not to injure the user at about 1.5 litres per minute Eye/face washes will need a higher volume of 11 litres per minute The water nozzles should be between 830 mm and 1140 mm from the floor

The following attributes apply to the positioning of an eyewash station.
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It must be situated in an accessible location close to the hazard and require no longer than 10 seconds to reach (about 12 metres) The eyewash station shall be clearly marked with a visible sign and the area around and behind painted in a bright colour Outdoor units must be protected from freezing

THE ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR EMERGENCY SHOWERS In all locations where chemicals are used, and in particular corrosive products, special provision of drench safety showers is required. Such showers should be designed to provide a quick drenching of a person affected by accidental chemical contact. The most appropriate standard for this equipment is ANSI 358.1. 2004.
Source: www.nzsafety.co.nz

For more information, please contact:

Pro-Safe Marine
128 Seaview Road Paraparaumu New Zealand www.prosafemarine.com Mobile: +64 272 408 622 Telephone: +64 4 905 4021 eric.holliday@prosafemarine.com


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