The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more commonly known as the CDC, keep information on a variety of types of work related injuries including eye injuries. In the United States alone the CDC reports that over 2000 eye injuries are treated per day in hospitals across the country. How many injuries are not treated by medical professionals but are treated by the patient themselves, a co-worker or a non-reporting medical professional are estimated to be considerable in their number, perhaps even as many as the reported cases treated in emergency rooms and medical clinics. The total number of work related eye injuries per year in the United Sates is estimated to be 800,000, some resulting in permanent loss of vision or vision impairment.
The largest percentage of eye injuries are from scrap materials, waste or debris flying into the eye. This accounts for approximately 35% of the total with exposure to chemicals or chemical products accounting for the second largest category of about 14% of the total cases. Plants, animals, minerals and personal contact are the third most commonly reported cause of eye injuries at 9% with materials and parts and welding torch injuries equally represented at 6%. Just over one quarter of all eye injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms are due to exposure to toxins or harmful chemicals and substances within the work environment. In almost all cases the injured individual was not wearing any type of lab safety goggles and glasses or eye protection, something that is very important to keep in mind.
Eye safety starts with wearing the correct type of lab safety glasses. There are many different styles of lab safety glasses and googles that are customized for specialty environments and working conditions as well as for specific types of eye protection. In general these goggles and glasses are designed to be lightweight and comfortable to wear, providing a strong, durable yet very easy to wear piece of protective gear.
In order to keep the lens lightweight and comfortable most are made of a polycarbonate type of material. The lenses can also be made to match a prescription, eliminating the need to wear two pairs of glasses or goggles, one prescription and one safety, if the individual requires glasses and goggles for work. These types of prescription lab safety glasses are an excellent way to ensure staff is not using traditional glasses in lieu of safety goggles, a common but dangerous habit in many types of work environments.
Lab safety glasses or goggles are specifically designed to reduce the chance of chemicals, substances, debris or objects from entering the area around the lens. Many safety glasses are a wrap-around or European or aviator style of frame that can be purchased in a variety of colors and sizes, perfect for staying in style while staying safe. Adjustable lab safety glasses are also an important item to have on hand for visitors to the lab or for large labs where multiple staff, technicians and professionals may be using equipment and suppliers. Ensuring that everyone in the environment is wearing lab safety goggles or glasses needs to be a strictly enforced policy for everyone's safety.