Each day about 2000 U.S. workers sustain a job related eye injury that requires treatment at a medical facility or emergency room.

More than 100 of these injuries result in one or more days away from work. Wearing the proper PPE such as safety glasses, goggles, face shields or full face respirators will prevent eye injuries and related diseases.

Please see the FREAS SharePoint page under Safety for more information on this topic and recently issued safety messages.


Extended Safety Message:

  • The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) states that the majority of eye injuries result from small particles or objects striking or scraping the eye such as: dust, material chips, metal slivers and wood chips.
  • Industrial chemical or cleaning products are common causes of chemical burns to the eye.
  • Eye infections or diseases are often transmitted through the mucous membranes as a result of splashes or droplets from coughing, sneezing or touching the eyes with contaminated hands.
  • Work involving hammering, sawing, grinding, sanding, spraying chemicals and using cement products have been identified as the tasks that produce the most eye injuries.
  • EHS has conducted numerous job hazard analysis (JHA) that have determined the appropriate type of protective eyewear based on the given task, materials used, and the environment.
  • The issued JHA’s can be found on the FREAS website in the Safety Section.
  • Contact your supervisor or EHS if you are unsure of the JHA for your assigned task.
  • OSHA requires that a hazard assessment is done to determine the specific PPE needed.
  • Always inspect your safety eyewear (and all other PPE) before each use.
  • See your supervisor if you need eye protection equipment, or if your current PPE has been damaged or broken.
  • Be cautious when viewing or just passing through an area where work is being performed as particles can be distributed in the air throughout the entire work space.
  • Prepare you work area in advance of performing a task by reducing or eliminating the know hazards if possible.
  • Install personnel barriers around your hazardous task such as signage or caution tape to prevent others from entering the area.
  • Be aware of where the nearest eyewash stations are located.
  • The face shields should be used over safety glasses or goggles per the JHA.
  • Use caution when wearing contact lenses and working with chemicals or significant dust as they can compound eye injuries. Use appropriate goggles.
  • Although only a few of us perform welding, which requires very specific eye protection, be cautious when walking past welding activities as the arc can damage to your cornea.
  • The National Eye Institute has detailed recommendations at www.nei.nih.gov
  • For more information go to www.cdc.gov