Did you know that eye and ear injuries are among the most common injuries in American workers? Each day, approximately 2000 workers sustain job-related eye injuries needing medical treatment. Each year, about 15% of workers with occupational illnesses have work-related hearing loss.
The bottom line: You must always protect your eyes and ears whenever you’re in your workshop! Also Read: How to protect eyes from spark flow while grinding?
Reasons to Protect Your Eyes and Ears
The economic toll of both eye and ear injuries is cause for concern. Job-related injuries often mean one or several days of absences for recovery.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), these injuries cost more than $300 million each year! These costs include medical treatment, worker compensation, and lost productivity.
But the personal toll is even more alarming. If you’re injured in the eyes or ears, you will likely suffer from its consequences. You can miss work for several days, which can mean reduced income.
If you suffered from a severe injury, you may even say goodbye to the type of work you’re doing now. You and your family can experience life difficulties including in your finances and relationships. Your life may even change, not for the better but for the worst.
Indeed, your eyes and ears are arguably your most important sense organs in your line of work. You may be a as a woodworker, carpenter or metal worker but it’s all the same. You should adopt all precautionary measures to protect them.
Protection for Your Eyes
There are many types of work-related injuries. These range from simple eye strain to serious trauma resulting in blindness. These injuries happen in many ways including:
- Small and large objects or particles scraping or striking the eyes. These can include cement and wood chips, metal slivers, and dust, as well as tools and equipment.
- Sharp objects penetrating the eyeball. These include metal and wood slivers, nails, and staples. The penetration can result in permanent loss of vision in one or both eyes.
- Burns caused by chemicals, cleaning products, and heat. The burn can severely damage the eyes and its surrounding tissues.
These diseases can be transmitted by exposure to the pathogen. You can touch your eyes with a contaminated finger, for example. The most important thing in vision protection always wear the right protective eyewear. Studies have shown that it can prevent over 90% of serious eye injuries.
Be sure to wear eye protection for each specific work situation. You have to assess the extent of the hazard and your exposure to it. You must also consider your personal vision needs, as well as be comfortable when worn.
Welding masks with adjustable filters are needed for specific cutting and welding activities. But it doesn’t stop with wearing protective eyewear. You should also watch out for eye dangers including:
- Flying objects like bits of wood, glass and metal
- Particles in the air
Just one hazard can result in partial or permanent vision loss. You should also avoid being complacent since many eye injuries happen over time. In conclusion, a holistic approach to eye protection is a must. You must adopt a three-pronged approach:
- Remove the hazards before you start working. You can use engineering controls like work screens and machine guarding. Know the eye-related safety hazards. You can either reduce or remove the risks depending on the situation.
- Skipping on a single aspect will increase your risks for an eye injury. So, always be vigilant even in routine jobs. Use proper eye protection. You can also ask other passing through high-risk areas to wear protective eyewear, too.
Protection for Your Ears
You should also wear protection for your ears. Keep in mind that hearing loss will have a significant impact on your performance and health. You don’t want to be one of the millions of people suffering from noise-related hearing loss.
Also, sustained exposure to loud noises can result in irreversible damage to the ears. You will also be unable to hear critical communications, such as alarms, from others. Your life and limb can be in danger for this reason.
OSHA also sets limits on the amount of decibel noise workers can be exposed to. The limit: 90 A-weighted decibels (dBA) for an 8-hour period. For reference, a heavy truck has an 85-90 dBA and a jackhammer has 90-100 dBA.
If the noise level increases by even just 5dBA, the amount of time exposure should be decreased by 50%. For example, you should decrease your jackhammer noise exposure to 4 hours.
There are several types of ear protection available, too. You should choose one based on your unique working conditions:
- Ear plugs are used in blocking the ear canal. These may be pre-formed or moldable, both of which are reusable.
Semi-insert ear plugs are held together by a rigid headband. The two ear plugs are inserted over the ear canals’ ends.
- Ear muffs are also held together by a headband. These consist of soft ear cushions, hard outer cups, and sound-attenuating material.
- The choice in hearing protection should first be about desired noise reduction. Comfort comes next. For example, ear muffs are the better choice in case of intermittent noise exposure.
Before starting on work, eye and ear protection must first be considered. Be sure to adopt the three-pronged approach mentioned above for reduced risks. Your eyes and ears are your best friends when working in your workshop.
This is true whether you’re a woodworker or metalworker. You should adopt all precautionary measures to preserve your vision and hearing.