Each day about 2000 U.S. workers have a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment. About one third of the injuries are treated in hospital emergency departments and more than 100 of these injuries result in one or more days of lost work. The majority of these injuries result from small particles or objects striking or abrading the eye. Examples include metal slivers, wood chips, dust, and cement chips that are ejected by tools, wind blown, or fall from above a worker. Some of these objects, such as nails, staples, or slivers of wood or metal penetrate the eyeball and result in a permanent loss of vision. Large objects may also strike the eye/face, or a worker may run into an object causing blunt force trauma to the eyeball or eye socket. Chemical burns to one or both eyes from splashes of industrial chemicals or cleaning products are common. Thermal burns to the eye occur as well. Among welders, their assistants, and nearby workers, UV radiation burns (welder’s flash) routinely damage workers’ eyes and surrounding tissue.
The majority of eye injuries in the workplace could have been prevented. The best prevention, however, will not occur with just ordinary prescription eyewear (dress glasses). Even adding side shields to dress glasses does not make them safety glasses. The frames and lenses of dress glasses do not undergo the rigorous testing that is required before safety glasses can be certified to meet OSHA standards. Testing of safety frames and lenses includes impact testing as well as coverage testing. Properly certified safety eyewear is specifically marked to insure compliance with OSHA safety standards. SafeVision® branded frames are tested for OSHA (ANSI Z87) compliance with an independent third party laboratory. There is no requirement or assurance that dress frames meet these rigorous standards.