According to the Federal Register, OSHA has proposed changes to it’s eye and face safety protocols. These changes would affect general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring marine terminals and construction.
The changes to these standards are expected to fix inconsistencies within different job sectors, as well as clarify the language of already imposed rules. With these proposed revisions, OSHA is focusing on American National Standards Institute (ANSI) changes made in 2010 including hazard awareness and the specific appropriate equipment available to protect against them. Some of these hazards include dust, splash and impact.
Prior to this change, focus was only on the protective gear available to prevent contact against hazards in general, without a focus on specific types of hazards.
As of January 1, employers must report the loss of an eye due to work-related injuries within 24 hours of the incident.
According to OSHA, eye injuries cost more than $300 million dollars per year in loss of production time, worker compensation and medical expenses.
There are many eye-related hazards at work sites. Some common causes of injury include:
- Chemicals: Risk of splash and vapor or mist irritants.
- Dust: Floating dust particles.
- Heat: Extreme heat vapors or air.
- Impact: Flying objects or sand and dust particle dangers.
- Radiation: Intense glare or energy release.
Eye and facial protection must be chosen based on ANSI standards and the type of material a worker may be at risk of exposure to. Training is also required by OSHA including:
- How to effectively use the protective gear provided in daily and emergency situations
- How to inspect, wear and remove gear
- Limitations of protection
- Maintenance and storage
- Recognition of the medical distress signs that can occur while using gear.