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.

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