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May 09, 2003
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Best practices with protective eyewear

By PoliceOne staff

According to Prevent Blindness America, eye injuries of all types occur at the rate of more than 1,000 per day. Every year approximately 100,000 of these eye injuries will result in vision loss. Most eye injuries are caused by metal fragments, tools, particles, harmful radiation (welding flash), and chemicals. A recent survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that three out of five workers who suffered an eye injury were not wearing eye protection, and of those who did, 40 percent were wearing the wrong kind.

Law Enforcement officers are particularly at risk due to the wide variety of environments and situations to which they are exposed. By using precautions and protective eyewear, experts believe that at least 90 percent of all eye injuries can be prevented.

Rules of Thumb:

    1. Observe all eye safety signs and procedures.

    2. Always wear appropriate ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Z87 approved eye protection in clean and serviceable condition for mechanical, chemical, biological or radiant energy hazards.

    3. Never wear contact lenses where smoke, dust, and chemical fumes exist. Do not wear contact lenses during field training and deployment.

    4. Know basic first aid for eye injury so you may help yourself and your fellow worker.

    5. Have an eye examination by your eye doctor every two or three years, or sooner as directed, to ensure you have good vision to do your job safely and efficiently.

    6. Use common sense in all activities potentially hazardous to the eye.


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