Saturday, June 25, 2011

Eye Protection for Workers Near Eye Hazards – Regardless of Contact Lens Wear

NIOSH recommends workers be permitted to wear contact lenses when handling hazardous chemicals, provided that the safety guidelines below are followed & that contact lenses are not banned by regs or contraindicated by medical or industrial hygiene recommendations.

Still conduct a workplace eye injury hazard evaluation by including assessment:
• Chemical exposures
• Contact lens wear among affected employees
• Appropriate eye and face protection for contact lens wearers

At a minimum, an evaluation of the properties of the chemicals in use—include concentration, permissible exposure limits, known eye irritant/injury properties, form of chemical (powder, liquid, or vapor), and possible routes of exposure. An assessment for contact lens wearers needs to include a review of info about lens absorption, absorption for class of chemicals in use, & an account of injury experience for the employer or industry, if known.

NIIOSH says that wearing contact lenses do not appear to require enhanced eye protection. For chemical vapor, liquid, or caustic dust hazards, the minimum protection consists of well-fitting non-vented or indirectly vented goggles or full-face piece respirators. Close-fitting safety glasses with side protection provide limited chemical protection but do not prevent chemicals from bypassing the protection.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


For employees who use chrome plating baths, weld or cut chromium-containing metals, such as stainless steel; handle dry chromate-containing pigments or spray chromate-containing paints and coatings, this pertains.

• Hexavalent chromium enters the body in two ways: (1) inhaled when chromium dust, mist, or fumes are in the air, 2) particles can be swallowed if the dust gets on hands, clothing, or beard, or in food/beverages.

• Hexavalent chromium can irritate the respiratory tract in the nose, throat, & lungs. Repeated or prolonged exposure can damage the mucous membranes of the nasal passages causing ulcers. In some cases, septum damage (the wall separating nasal passages) develops a hole.

• Prolonged skin contact can result in dermatitis and skin ulcers. Some workers develop an allergic sensitization to chromium. Kidney damage has been linked to high dermal exposures.

• Hexavalent chromium is an eye irritant. Direct eye contact with chromic acid or chromate dusts can cause permanent eye damage.

• Wear respiratory protection.
• Wear protective clothing & eye-face protection if there is the potential that hexavalent chromium can come in contact with eyes or skin.
• Always use change rooms & washing facilities provided before eating, drinking, smoking, or using toilet.
• Remove contaminated clothing B4 entering designated eating & drinking areas.
• Use HEPA filter vacuuming to keep surfaces as free as possible of material containing hexavalent chromium.
• Collect/dispose of all waste in sealed, impermeable containers.
• Flush eye area immediately for at least 15 min. & get medical attention.
• For skin exposure, wash thoroughly with soap and water. Get medical attention if irritation persists.
• For inhalation, move the person to fresh air & get medical attention.