According to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, over 700 Canadian workers sustain eye injuries resulting in lost time and/or temporary or permanent vision loss every day.
Nevertheless, 90% of these injuries could be preventable by the use of adequate safety glasses. Besides, eye injuries often occurs when a worker removes their eye protection while working near or passing by other hazardous activities on the job.
Most industrial eye injuries can be prevented by wearing the right protection for the job. Protective eyewear includes non-prescription and prescription safety glasses, goggles, face shields, welding helmets and full-face respirators and eye guards.
Metal or wood shavings can pierce the cornea and eyeball and possibly cause the loss of an eye.
Activities involving but not limited: Chipping, scaling, stonework, drilling, grinding, buffing, polishing, hammer mills, crushing, heavy sawing, planing, wire and strip handling, hammering, unpacking, nailing, punch press, lathework.
Dust, sawdust, etc.
They can cause irritation resulting in a corneal ulcer, causing the eye to become red, watery, or pus secretion.
Activities involving but not limited: Woodworking, sanding, light metal working and machining, exposure to dust and wind, resistance welding (no radiation exposure), sand, cement, aggregate handling, painting, concrete work, plastering, material batching and mixing
It can burn and severely damage the cornea.
Activities involving but not limited: Babbiting, casting, pouring, molten metal, brazing, soldering, spot welding, stud welding, hot dipping operations.
Acid Splash or chemicals
They can burn the cornea, the conjunctiva (white coat on the eye), and the eyelid, and they are a possible cause of vision loss.
Activities involving but not limited: Acid and alkali handling, degreasing, pickling and plating operations, glass breakage, chemical spray, liquid bitumen handling.
It can cause a corneal abrasion, which can result in vision loss.
Activities involving but not limited: Sand blasting, shot blasting, shotcreting
It can cause extreme eye fatigue.
Activities involving but not limited: Reflection, bright sun and lights, reflected welding flash, photographic copying
The cornea can be damaged due to the ultraviolet light from a welding arc.
Activities involving but not limited: Torch cutting, welding, brazing, furnace work, metal pouring, spot welding, photographic copying
Babbiting, casting, pouring, molten metal; brazing, soldering, spot welding, stud welding, hot-dipping operations
Eye protection equipment is classified into 6 classes based on the CSA Standard Z94.3-15: Eye and Face Protectors.
Class 1 Spectacles Spectacles
According to CSA Standard Z94.3-15 Class 1 spectacles require to incorporateside protection or covers and meet the criteria for impact resistance.
Class 2 Goggles
Safety goggles are devices contoured for full facial contact and are held in place by a headband or another suitable means and therefore offer greater eye protection than safety glasses.
They are impact resistant and must meet the minimum requirements of CSA Standard Z94.3.1-09. Like safety glasses, they are available in a variety of tints and shades.
Safety goggles may have direct or indirect ventilation to protect against fogging. Goggles with direct ventilation allow heat and humidity to dissipate, but do not protect against splash hazards. Goggles with indirect ventilation are designed to protect against dust and splash hazards.
Class 3 Welding Helmets
Welding helmets and hand shields are designed to protect the face and eyes from non-ionizing radiation (heat, light, UV) and impact (weld spatter) when welding or working with molten materials. Welding helmets shall be used only in conjunction with primary eye protectors such as safety glasses or goggles.
There are two types of welding helmets available:
Class 4Welding Hand Shields
Welding hand shields are similar to Class 3 welding helmets except that there are no lift-front type models. They are designed to give radiation and impact protection for the face and eyes.
Class 5 Hoods
Non-rigid helmets or hoods come with impact-resistant windows usually made of plastic. An air supply system may also be incorporated. Hoods may be made of non-rigid material for use in confined spaces and of collapsible construction for convenience in carrying and storing
Class 6 Face Shields
Face shields have a transparent window or visor to shield the face and eyes from impact, splash, heat, or glare. With face shields, as with welding helmets and hand shields, the user is continually lifting and lowering the visor.
Face shields are built to provide general protection to the face and front of the neck against flying particles and sprays of hazardous liquids. Face shields may also have crown protectors and/or chin protectors. Face shields do not fully enclose the eyes and are to be used only in conjunction with primary eye protectors such as safety glasses or goggles.
Face shields may come with an adjustable spark deflector or brow guard that fits on the worker’s hard hat. Shaded windows are also available to provide glare reduction. However, these do not meet the requirements of CSAZ94.3-15 Eye and Face Protectors for ultraviolet and total heat, so should not be used in situations where any hazard is present from UV or infrared radiation.