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Importance of proper eyewear protection

Each year in Colorado, many workers suffer eye injuries while working on the job that could otherwise have been prevented by the use of protective eyewear. In some cases, the injuries result from eyewear that does not fit the wearer's facial structure properly, thus allowing debris to enter the eyes.

As more and more workers come from different ethnic backgrounds as well as the fact that an increasing number of women are also working, the standard safety eye wear sizes do not always work. Compounding this problem is that many employers who provide the protective eye wear for their workers simply do not know how to properly fit the eye wear to the individual worker's face. When eye wear is ill-fitting, workers run the risk of suffering injuries due to the gap in coverage. Besides allowing debris to enter the eyes, gaps can lead to fogging, soreness and slipping of the eyewear. These problems may lead workers to simply take the eyewear off.

Employers should be aware that one size does not always fit all workers. They should instead make certain that the sizes they make available are designed to fit a variety of face sizes and structures. Eyewear should then be fitted to each worker's face in order to prevent gaps and slippage. Choosing adjustable eyewear protection and those with protective coatings can help.

While choosing adjustable eyewear with protective coating may be more costly at first than traditional protection, money could be saved overall. Preventing a workplace injury from occurring in the first place should be the predominant concern. When workers are injured while working on the job, they should file a claim with workers' compensation. Through workers' compensation, the injured worker may be able to recover benefits to pay for their incurred expenses.

Source: Occupational Health & Safety, "Improving Safety Eyewear Fit for Better Protection and Compliance", David Iannelli, Feb. 1, 2015

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