Eye and face hazards due to their potential hazardous nature must be managed in the workplace. Exposing the unprotected face and vital senses to hazardous situations can result in temporary or permanent eye, face and head injuries. Facial injuries can be disfiguring and can have a huge impact on the casualty’s well-being, self-esteem and working future. The head and face houses vital organs and therefore appropriate protection should always be considered when facing hazards that pose a risk to health and safety.
Head/facial damage can range from moderate to severe and leave a lasting legacy. Imagine losing your sight, facial scaring, disfigurement, or chemical burns to the most viewed and exposed part of your body. Compromising your window to the world through inappropriate care and safety is not worth the pain and suffering it could impose.
Reducing eye and facial injuries in the workplace often requires professional advice and guidance should be obtained from well-informed sources. Conversing with safety professionals, manufacturers, workplace health and safety bodies, safety consultants if needed, is recommended to ensure all measures are taken to provide a safer workplace and to safeguard that correct personal protective equipment is used.
Eliminating the hazard or minimizing the risk should be the goal. If that is not possible, the risk must be minimised so far as is reasonably practicable. Identifying the hazard, risk and assessing solutions should centre on making the working environment safer. This aim may involve a number of actions such as engineering controls, isolation of machinery/equipment or substitution to less harmful chemicals to name a few. Ultimately, a combination of actions may be required to remove, reduce or control eye / face hazards and personal exposure. These measures may take time and necessitate the need for eye and face personal protective equipment (PPE).
Correct selection of personal protective equipment specifically for eye and face protection is critical and requires careful evaluation. Australian and New Zealand Standards can provide valuable guidance. Products should be certified and clearly labelled with the certifying body’s trademark either on the packaging or product. It is important to understand that product claiming compliance or that conforms to, does not necessarily equate to certification. For the uninitiated PPE selection can be greatly assisted by contacting a reputable supplier/retailer trained and capable of imparting guidance during this process.
The selection process is the first serious step and for those untrained individuals caution is warranted. For example face protection is provided by wearing a face shield consisting of a brow guard and correct material visor. Depending on the application and hazards involved the right visor material is a critical consideration. Hazards such as radiant heat, low to high impact, chemical splash, hot solids, molten materials and glare are all possibilities when using a face shield.
While correct product performance, application, compatibility, maintenance and storage are essential, fit/comfort is paramount. Educating users in correct fit, maintenance and storage is vital as it aids appropriate use, comfort, working life, performance and general wearer acceptance.
Training and consultation are essential to ensure the PPE provided is accepted, used correctly, maintained and regularly inspected. It should also prevent any unauthorised changes and product abuse. Wearer rejection is generally prevented and acceptance greatly enhanced when users are well informed and does not distract the wearer from going about their daily tasks.
It is crucial that users wear their PPE 100% of the time while exposed to hazards. Therefore, implementing a safety culture in the workplace is an ongoing process that involves planning, consultation and constant review. It must be supported by all and have total management commitment.
Scott Safety has been supplying personal protective equipment (PPE) for over 75 years, under the UniSafe brand. Scott Safety has launched their new ranges of safety spectacles called the Helios and Wasp; both are comfortable, stylish and fit for purpose, available in a range of colours, lens and tint options to suit any working environment.
For more details, call Scott Safety on 131 772 or visit www.scottsafety.com/en/anz/