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Protecting the Eyes from Harmful Chemicals in the Workplace

Protecting the Eyes from Harmful Chemicals in the Workplace

Protective eyewearFor years, authorities have been unable to easily identify occupations that carry the highest risk of eye injuries. This is because the eyes are extremely sensitive and highly susceptible to injuries if not properly protected.

 

According to a report by Safe Work Australia, a total of 835 eye-related injuries were recorded from 2015 to 2016. One of the main causes of occupational ocular injuries were chemicals and other hazardous substances, the report cited.

 

Identifying Harmful Chemicals and Their Risks

 

Both highly acidic (pH levels less than four) and highly alkaline substances (pH levels greater than 10) are harmful to the eyes and may cause irritation, burns, or worse, loss of sight.

 

Alkali substances present the highest risk because they can penetrate the surface of the eye and damage both its external and internal structures.

 

The most common alkali substances contain ammonia, caustic soda and potassium hydroxide, which are prevalent in household cleaning products like drain and toilet cleaners.

 

Acidic substances, on the other hand, cause less serious damage but can still lead to major problems when eye exposure to such substances doesn’t receive immediate care. Common acids that can cause eye burns are sulphuric acid, nitric acid and acetic acid. Hydrofluoric acid is a strong acidic substance that can cause as much damage as alkalines.

 

Other Hazardous Chemicals to Consider

 

Apart from acids and alkalis, other dangerous chemicals can cause serious damage to the eyes. These include organic solvents and corrosive chemicals like phenols and ferric chloride, to name a few.

 

Organic solvents are substances that dissolve another substance and include thinners, kerosene and paint solvents. Splashes or long periods of exposure to the explosive and flammable vapours and solvents may irritate the eye.

 

One should also be wary of corrosive chemicals like phenols and ferric chloride. Direct eye contact with phenols causes severe pain and redness, and requires immediate medical attention. Ferric chloride causes the same hazards along with blurred vision and also requires urgent hospital care.

 

Mandated Occupational Safety Measures

 

Following the identification of chemical hazards in the workplace, strict compliance with the state’s safety standards must be implemented. Safe Work Australia also recommends critical analysis of the working environment, including containment and enclosure of dangerous chemicals.

 

Australia’s Occupational Health and Safety legislation requires employers to provide protective eyewear to their employees to prevent occupational hazards and reduce eye health risks in the workplace. This joint legislation of Australia and New Zealand states that protective eyewear must comply with the specified frame, lens material, thickness and fit.

 

Innovative and Precise Protective Eyewear

 

Maxisafe’s eye and face protection gear adheres to the relevant standards and combines innovative and precise engineering in safety design.

 

Our range of industrial protective eyewear comes with durable, anti-scratch lenses coupled with a lightweight and ergonomic construction for maximum comfort.

 

Our line of protective eye gear is impact-resistant and keeps the eyes safe from harmful projectiles and foreign bodies. Some lenses are also polarised to protect against harsh light and potential damage caused by ultraviolet exposure.

 

Enhance your workplace’s safety with our durable, comfortable and ergonomic eyewear.

 

Contact us today for more information and we will respond to your enquiries.