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Protecting your eyes


Causes of eye injuries:

Over 90% of eye injuries are due to four general causes:

  1. Being struck in the eye by flying particles and objects.
  2. Striking the eye against moving or stationary objects.
  3. Eye contact with:
    • Splashes of molten metals, hot liquids, disease-causing agents
    • Fumes - corrosive, irritant
    • Dusts - organic, chemical, abrasive, corrosive
  4. Exposure to welding flash, hot substances, laser beams, infrared radiation, laser reflection.

Treating splashes, fumes, dust, particles in eyes:

  • Lay patient on floor and pour copious amounts of water gently into the eyes while holding the eyelids open.
  • Continue for 15 minutes. Get professional medical attention.
  • If the patient is wearing contact lenses, don't attempt to remove them before or during the 15 minute irrigation. Usually the lenses will be washed out of the eyes. If this doesn't occur, the lenses will slide off the pupil and migrate to the back of the eyes. They may be safely left there until medical attention is available.

Choosing eye protection:

Hazard Examples Protection Notes
Thrown particles   Face shield, goggles, glasses with side-shields. Select according to factors: hot or cold particles, high speed or low, hard or soft. See AS/NZS 1337:1992 Eye protectors for industrial applications.
Thrown objects   High impact face shields, goggles. Select according to Standard above.
Splashes Molten metals, hot or very cold liquids, corrosive liquids, chemicals, detergents Goggles and masks. Ensure the goggle or mask ventilation system is splash-proof and the mask fits the face contours. See Standard above.
Dusts Work with powdered materials, abrasives, dry organic material, chemicals, and some corrosives. Light goggles. Close fit is important. Ensure any ventilation system is dust-proof. See Standard above.
Fumes May be corrosive or irritant. Can be produced by hot materials, chemical reagents, smog (e.g. automobile exhaust fumes, mainly hydrocarbons). Goggles and masks. Lens type governed by other hazard factors. See Standard above.

Note on contact lenses and eye protection:
Contact lenses may be safely worn with all types of eye protection, including welding goggles and visors. Contact lenses do not provide protection against eye hazards and must not be considered as a substitute for the appropriate type of personal protective equipment.

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