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OSHA has its sights set on eye safety

November 24, 2010

As consideration that March is Workplace Eye Safety Month, it is important to remember that it is not simply a good idea for employers to institute an eye safety program, it is the law. According to the U.S. Labor Department's bureau of labor statistics, of all facial injuries which result in lost workdays, nearly three-fourths of the incidents involve eyes.

Other statistics:

• 60 percent of workers who suffer eye injuries were not wearing eye protection at the time; •
25 percent of workers wear the wrong kind of eye protection.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires dealers and other employers to assess their workplaces for hazards to eyes and to have a safety gear program if any such hazards are identified. One local dealer said he thought eye injuries were routine and unavoidable. Then he instituted a simple safety gear program. Eye injuries there dropped from an average of six a year to zero- and have stayed there for three years.

Having an encompassing eye safety program also defrays insurance costs because it demonstrates that the business is pro-active about loss control. Eye wash station requirements have been changed by OSHA. Stations now must be located within 10 seconds of any known eye hazards. Safety glasses and eye wash stations also must meet certain standards.

Dealerships waste lots of money each year buying the wrong materials, said Phil Troy, president of ComplyNet, a CATA allied member. Troy said dealers who want more information on the matter can send a fax to ComplyNet at 847-823-9778. Indicate "Eye Safety" on the fax subject line.