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According to the Disease Control and Prevention Center (CDC), almost 2,000 US workers suffer an eye injury at the job every day. These numbers represent the injuries which need medical attention. More than 100 of these injuries result in one or more days of lost workdays, and around one-third of these injuries are critical and require treatment in emergency departments. These figures are quite alarming, and the reality is that there is a need to adopt strict measures to reduce the risk of eye injuries in the oil and gas industry and other similar sectors.
In such high risk industries, there is an increased risk of eye without the appropriate safety measures. Enforcing eye protection measures will reduce or eliminate greater risks associated with risks related to eye injuries such as dust, chemicals, weld sparks, and windy conditions.
First, let’s take a closer look at these risks.
It is almost impossible to avoid the dust that is common during machine operation and maintenance work, and when loading and unloading materials. In the worst case, dust in the eyes can lead to infections, scars, scratches on the cornea, or abrasion of the cornea.
Various chemicals are present in the oil and gas and construction industries. The majority of these chemicals are dangerous and most material safety datasheets (MSDS) highlight the risk of eye contact with these chemicals. If it gets in your eyes, it may cause chemical burns. In addition, exposure to fog, fumes and fumes can cause serious eye damage. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics states that exposure to chemicals causes about one-fifth of eye injuries in the workplace.
Welding sparks are extremely dangerous without proper precautions. Welders can be exposed to carcinogens that can damage the eyes. In addition, welding torches can cause problems with UV light, including conditions such as “welder flash” and “arc eye”. A flash burn is like a sunburn on the surface of the eye and can cause pain, blurred vision, or, in extreme cases, loss of vision.
Working outdoors in windy conditions can also cause eye injuries. Dry eyes often cause irritation, so you may want to rub your eyes to relieve itching. Excessive rubbing of the eyes can cause corneal abrasion or scratches. In addition, scrubbing eyes may introduce contact risk with a dirty hands/gloves which may lead to eye infections.
Preventive practices, training, clear signs, and high-quality safety equipment are all essential elements of workplace safety. Here at TFT-Pneumatic, we believe that every element is important in itself to stay safe and needs a separate focus to develop an effective safety program.
Today we will discuss eye protection equipment and explain in detail how the use of such equipment can help in the oil and gas and similar industries. Below are the two most important eye protection PPE(s). Considering the type of eye protection equipment should be based on the expected hazards from the job and the most recent industry safety recommendations based on historical data.
Goggles are a sort of fitted protective eyewear that completely encloses the eyes, eye sockets, and the facial region immediately surrounding the eyes. These goggles can protect against impact, dust, mists, fumes, and splashes. Goggles with direct ventilation are primarily employed to guard against impact dangers and dusts, however, this type of goggles do not protect from chemical splashes or vapors (unless so marked). Dust and splash dangers can be avoided by using goggles with indirect ventilation. Impact, dust, splashes, mists, and fumes can all be protected by goggles with no ventilation. Look for particular ANSI/ISEA Z87 markings on the goggle lens and body to see if the product meets the performance criteria and the job requirement. Some goggles fit over regular prescription spectacles. This is very useful for employees with poor eyesight.
Figure 1 – Safety Goggles
Metal or plastic safety frames with impact-resistant lenses make up the most common protective eyewear in the oil and gas industry. Depending on the model, side shields are either incorporated or detachable. Unless labelled as a splash protector, safety eyewear should not be used to guard against liquid splashes, mists, or fumes. Impact protection is only available in safety eyewear with lateral protection (side shields or built into the frame or lens). Safety glasses can be personalized and incorporate an eye correction for a specific employee who need them.
Figure 2 – Safety Glasses
Eye Protection Marking
ANSI / ISEA Z87.1-2015 requires eye protection markings that are directly related to the ability of the eye protection device to protect against certain hazards. If the eye shield is ANSI / ISEA Z87.1-2015 compliant, it will be marked (or etched) as Z87, clearly marking the manufacturer and additional markings to identify impact, dust, light emission, and splash protection. Splatter marks are not placed on the lens. Only displayed in the frame. Note: Some devices may have markings on the lens or frame, but not both.
Figure 3 – ANSI Z87 Marking
The WAC 296-800-160 Personal Washington State Department of Labor (L & I) Protective Equipment (PPE) requires all employers to assess the workplace for potential hazards. Use of personal protective equipment is required when hazards are present which may lead to an injury. When it comes to eye injuries, it can be quite critical and in the worst-case scenarios can lead to the loss of sight which not only can be detrimental to the employee professional and personal life. At TFT-Pneumatic we review each job risk level and potential hazards, and our safety managers develop safety standards for the minimum required PPE for each job to be performed. This has helped us reduce our injury risk related to improper PPE and hence helped reduce our employee injury statistics.
If you are suffering from eye injuries in your workplace as a result of sparks generated while surface prep, grinding, and cutting tools, then you would want to check out our Non-Sparking Tools. We are suppliers of the only surface prep, grinding, and cutting tools certified by DNV for use in potentially explosive and hazardous atmospheres. They are Classified as Cold work tools and are safe to use in Offshore Platforms, Refineries, Chemical Plants, Mines, FPSO’s, ships, and many other places where hydrocarbons are present. These tools are commonly referred to as sparkless grinders and are ideal for use where other non-sparking tools are used. Our tools DO NOT REQUIRE Hot Work Permits. Our tools are also certified for Dust Explosive atmospheres.
Interested in Pneumatic Tools and Non-Sparking Tools? Get in touch with us via the Contact Form. We will respond to all inquiries within one business day. We offer rental, purchase, and repair services for our products.