Protect those who wear contact lenses

by on October 13, 2011 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network

When handling and working around hazardous chemicals, you may think contact lens wearers should take out their contacts and wear glasses instead. But that’s not always true.

Unless banned by regulation, employees can wear contact lenses when handling hazardous chemicals provided that certain safety guidelines are followed.

  1. Protect everyone. First and foremost, provide eye protection for all workers exposed to eye injury hazards, whether they wear contact lenses or not. For chemical vapor, liquid, or caustic dust hazards, minimum protection consists of well-fitting, nonvented or indirectly vented goggles or full-facepiece respirators.
  2. Take note of lens wearers. Supervisors should know who wears contact lenses to ensure that the proper eye protection and first aid equipment are available.
  3. Provide medical attention. Train first aid personnel in the removal of contact lenses.
    In the event of chemical exposure, begin eye irrigation immediately and remove contact lenses as soon as practical. It is not necessary to delay irrigation while waiting for contact lens removal.
  4. Watch for trouble. Instruct employees to remove their contact lenses at the first signs of eye redness or irritation. Contact lenses should be removed only in a clean environment after the wearer has washed his or her hands. Evaluate continued lens wear with the worker and the prescribing ophthalmologist or optometrist. Encourage workers to routinely inspect their contact lenses for damage.

Source: NIOSH.

photo credit: tjmwatson

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