The Importance of Eye Protection in the Workplace

The Importance of Eye Protection in the Workplace

It’s essential that business owners make the health and safety of their employees a priority. Whatever the industry, employers have a duty of care to their workforce.

One area that requires special attention is the eyes. There are certain sectors that pose more of a risk to eyes than others, meaning that employers working in these areas of industry must be aware of the methods to use to prevent employees from damaging their sight while at work.

If you’re an employer and you want to make sure you’re doing all can to look after your team, here is a look at the importance of eye protection in the workplace and the ways that you can prevent injury.

How common are eye injuries in the workplace?

Injuries do happen, regardless of strict health and safety measures that might be in place at work. According to statistics from the Health and Safety Executive, annually between 2017/18 and 2019/20, 610,000 workers on average were injured in workplace accidents. A further 559,000 workers experienced a new case of ill health that they believed was caused or was made worse by their work.

These figures account for all accidents in the workplace in this time period. But how common are eye injuries at work?

According to statistics from the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR), of the 5,910 head injuries due to work last year, 814 were related specifically to the eye, making up 1% of all injuries.

Findings by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust in September 2019 revealed that three out of every five workers injured were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident they experienced.

However, while around 40% of the injured workers were wearing some form of eye protection when the accident occurred, there were issues with this protective equipment. They were either wearing the wrong kind of eye protection, wearing ill-fitting eye protection, or wearing eye protection that was badly damaged.

What eye protection do workers need?

Of all eye injuries, 90% could have been avoided if the worker was wearing the right PPE. The right protection is essential for avoiding damage caused to workers’ eyes. Good quality, well-fitting safety goggles that fully cover the eyes and don’t limit vision are a simple, yet effective investment for employees.

But supplying the goggles isn’t enough. Training them up in how to properly adjust their eyewear so that it’s comfortable and doesn’t become loose can also help to protect your team’s eyes while they work.

What are the workplaces that need to be aware of eye injuries?

Eye strain is a real concern for office workers and for anyone who works at a computer. In these cases, preventative measure usually comprise of company-funded sight tests and prescription glasses.

However, there are other industries that pose a real danger to workers’ sight. These are usually in construction, domestic, or industrial settings and apply to welders, those who work in joinery or woodwork, and those who do garden maintenance for a living.

In these cases, there’s a risk of eyes being burnt by sparks created by welding equipment, for instance, or damaged by debris created by a saw.


If you work in any of these industries, it’s worth prioritising PPE in your workplace. By taking the time to look at the health and safety procedures in place and taking the initiative, you’ll be able to keep everyone’s eyes safe.



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