October is Safety Month: Sites for sore eyes
The eyes provide an essential service on a job site: vision.
They are also an organ that is vulnerable to injury, particularly in the construction sector which is considered a high-risk environment due to the nature of the work involved.
In Australia, construction ranks third in terms of serious injury claims and fatality statistics.
While the incidence of serious eye injuries has diminished in recent years, it remains an important issue.
“As long as eye injuries continue to occur on jobs sites, eye safety needs to remain a focus,” stresses Nic Williams, who is the Product Manager for Blackwoods’ brand PROSAFE.
“There’s just a multitude of hazards in construction that can cause eye injuries and impact on an employee’s ability to work or wellbeing – vision is such a vital function and should never be overlooked.”
Workers in construction are commonly subjected to risk of eye injury from processes such as cutting, drilling, or grinding, or because of environmental conditions onsite, including exposure to sun, dust, or chemicals.
“Injuries to eyes can be broad and complex in construction, depending on the individual’s job,” explains Nic. “Those that engage in hammering, grinding, sanding or masonry work will be at risk of getting small particles in their eyes. Welding work causes sparks and flashes which are risks. Often workers are exposed to various chemicals onsite – a common one being cement. If cement powder gets into the eyes, it can cause chemical burn. Not to mention those working outside will exposed to UV rays and glare, or windy conditions which can cause dust or particles to go into the eyes.”