More than a million workers go to the emergency room with hand lacerations every year, while another 300,000 arrive with work-related eye injuries. In most cases, these injuries would have been completely preventable with proper safety processes and personal protective equipment (PPE) in place.
Here’s what you need to know to ensure your employees are protected with the right gear.
Before investing in proper PPE for hands, eyes, and faces, it’s important to understand that PPE should always be the last line of defense for your workers. Effective worker safety starts with assessing workplace hazards and eliminating as many as possible. A safer workplace is one with fewer hazards present. When hazards cannot be eliminated or fully mitigated, then it’s necessary to equip and train your people with appropriate PPE.
OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.133 requires the use of eye and face protection for all workers “who may be exposed to hazards such as flying objects, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acid or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.”
OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.138 requires employers to provide and require employees to use appropriate hand protection when their hands may be “exposed to hazards such as those from skin absorption of harmful substances, severe cuts or lacerations, severe abrasions, punctures, chemical burns, thermal burns, and harmful temperature extremes.”
PPE for hand, face, and eye protection must be chosen by the employer based on the specific hazards and uses, must be well fitted, readily available to employees, and well maintained. Additionally, employees must be trained and held accountable in its proper use.
Proper PPE could prevent millions of dollars in worker’s compensation and lost wages every year, not to mention the pain and suffering of injured workers. Yet simply hanging masks and gloves in the work area is not enough. Here are some common mistakes you may be making.
Protecting workers’ hands and faces is not complicated, but it does take some planning and investment. Attention to these matters should be included in periodic safety and industrial hygiene reviews. A good industrial hygiene assessment will identify measures to take to reduce worker exposure to hazards, as well as recommend the right PPE and training for your specific work environments.
Contact us today to schedule your next safety and industrial hygiene assessment with GLE.