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On average, over 2000 in the United States suffer an eye injury every single day! Almost one million Americans have experienced some vision loss due to eye injury, which results in more than $300 million in lost work time, medical expenses and workman’s compensation. Close to 70% of these accidents occur because of a flying or falling objects, with most of those objects being smaller than the head of a pin!

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month, and it’s the perfect time to review current safety guidelines and implement wellness and safety protocol for eye health. It’s also a good idea to have an eye safety checklist. Don’t have one? Here’s a quick eye safety checklist to get you started:

Evaluate Safety Hazards and Create Safe Work Environment
• Identify safety hazards and minimize any hazards from falling or unstable objects
• Eliminate hazards by using machine guarding, work screens or other engineering controls
• Check equipment and tools on a regular basis to make sure they are working properly and that safety features are in place
• Train employees how to use tools properly – including re-training employees on a regular basis to make sure they are continuing to keep safety top of mind
• Make sure eyewash stations are stocked and properly functioning – and employees are trained on how to use these stations
• Keep all nonessential people away from hazardous areas – and if they must be in the area, make sure they have essential safety equipment such as hardhats and safety goggles

Wear Proper Eye and Face Protection
• Make sure to have the correct forms of eye protection that fit right and stay in place
• Check to make sure goggles and safety glasses are clean and not scratched
• Use anti-dust or anti-fog sprays to prevent build-up, and replace damaged lenses or shields

Instill Workplace Safety Practices
• Always brush, shake or vacuum dust and debris from hardhats, hair, forehead and brow before removing protective eyewear
• Do not rub eyes with dirty hands or clothing
• Clean eyewear regularly

Even so-called minor eye injuries can cause life-long vision problems and suffering. Workplace eye safety is imperative! Protect your employees from becoming an eye injury statistic!

Tagged in: Eye Injury eye safety

Working in trenches and excavations can be hazardous, and trench collapses pose great risk to workers. To raise awareness of preventable incidents, compliance assistance specialists with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the Southeast are conducting outreach to educate employers and employees on the hazards associated with trenching and excavation work.

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In September, a miner died from burn injuries sustained while operating a rock truck. Two weeks later, two additional fires occurred. MSHA personnel will look at fire suppression systems on these types of surface mining vehicles.  They will check critical portions of fire suppression systems and will discuss key requirements of proper installation and maintenance of these systems. 

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Tagged in: fire suppression MSHA

Believe it or not, spring really is just right around the corner! And for over 50 million Americans that means those budding leaves and flowers bring a host of misery, including relentless sneezing, runny and congested noses, watery eyes, sore throat and headaches by way of pollen. Spring allergies can begin as early as February in the Midwest with tree pollen followed by grass a bit later.

For those in the workforce who suffer from spring allergies, this time of year can make it difficult to focus on the job or on proper safety measures for two reasons: the allergy symptoms themselves and the medications taken to combat them.

Here are some workplace and lifestyle tips to help win the war against springtime allergies:

• Make sure your work areas are well ventilated and have proper humidity
• Regularly dust work areas
• Change air filters frequently
• Clean or replace soiled, dusty or moldy carpet – pollen and other allergens get transferred easily from clothing and shoes
• Working outside:
o Wear NIOSH-approved masks, which can filter at least 95 percent of pollen and other airborne allergens 
o Wear long pants, long sleeves, and gloves to protect your skin from allergens
o Work when cloudy skies and calm winds, if possible – pollen counts are higher on sunny, breezy days
• Take antihistamines that are low- or non-sedating during the day, including Loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), Fexofenadine (Allegra) or Desloratadine (Clarinex) – there are also many nasal sprays and even allergy shots that can help alleviate symptoms

• Wash and change your clothes frequently as pollen clings to clothing
• Cover up when working outside – long pants, long sleeves, gloves and masks
• Install HEPA filters to capture pollen in your home
• Keep your furry family members off the furniture as pollen gets trapped in pet hair and then transfers onto your couch, bed and chairs
• Do not line dry your clothing outside – dry clothes indoors
Monitor pollen levels daily throughout spring and summer 
• When pollen levels are high, keep your windows closed and limit your outdoor activity

It is estimated that missed work and reduced productivity due to allergies cost U.S. companies more than $250 million a year. Taking these steps both in the workplace and personally can combat the effects of spring allergies and make for happier and safer employees!

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) renewed a national strategic partnership agreement with the Electrical Transmission and Distribution (ET&D) Construction Contractors; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); and related trade associations to protect the safety and health of line workers, and other electrical transmission and distribution industry workers.

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Tagged in: OSHA osha regulations


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