It may seem obvious – wearing eye protection
when grinding – but it’s not something everyone does. In the last 5 years, more than 500 manufacturing
workers in B.C. have filed injury claims after being struck in the eye by debris while using
a grinder. These eye injuries can be very serious. Over
time a tiny piece of iron or steel that has penetrated into the eye can rust and degrade,
becoming toxic – damaging the eye. Untreated, this condition can lead to irreversible
blindness. Two of the easiest things you can do to prevent
eye injuries are: One:
Use guarding. Make sure the grinder has its guards and/or
shields in place and that they are correctly adjusted. And two:
Wear eye protection. When using grinders, in most cases this means
wearing safety glasses or goggles along with a face shield. You may ask “Why not just safety glasses?”
or “Why the face shield?” When grinding, safety glasses protect your
eyes from direct hits from particles. However, many of the claims were from workers
injured when particles flew or deflected underneath their safety glasses. A face shield protects your eyes and face
from flying particles and also from projectiles in case a wheel breaks.
Face shields are not designed to be worn on their own.
Safety glasses or goggles need to be worn under them. Employers are responsible for supplying the
right protective eyewear to avoid the risk of injury to the eyes and/or face. Choose carefully by asking the right questions,
such as: Is there a risk of particles circumventing
the safety eyewear? and Is there a risk of projectiles from fragmenting
wheels? In B.C., about every two working days one
worker using a grinder will suffer an eye injury.
Don’t risk your sight. Wear eye protection.