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Eyes & Ears Protection in the Workplace

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 1 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Eye Protection Ear Protection Eye

Eyes and ears can suffer from many different types of injury or other condition as the result of prolonged work in a specific environment or because of an unforeseen accident. And, if proper measures have not been put in place by the company to provide protective safety equipment or have been lax towards ensuring that it is used in accordance with health and safety regulations, not only could an employee claim compensation but the company could also be at risk of be being prosecuted for negligence too.

The Types of Eye Injuries and Damage That Can Occur

This can vary tremendously depending on the nature of the work the employee is involved in and whether or not they were wearing suitable eye protection at the time. Problems can include impaired vision, burns (due to working with acids and other chemicals or corrosive materials),minor cuts and bruises and some injuries can even result in partial or total blindness.

Eye Protection

Depending on your profession, there is a wide range of protective equipment which can be worn to prevent such eye injuries occurring. These could be face shields, welding helmets, respirators which cover the entire face and head, safety glasses and goggles.

The important thing is that you must wear the appropriate protective equipment for the job you’re doing and, if you’re unsure what that is, you need to seek out a company’s health and safety manager or some other person who is qualified and knowledgeable to give you the correct answer and to provide you with the most suitable eye protection equipment.

The Types of Ear Injury and Damage That Can Occur

Working in areas where there is excessive noise over a prolonged period of time can cause both temporary and permanent damage to your ears and, in some cases, can lead to partial or complete deafness. You might also end up suffering from tinnitus – a constant ringing in the ears – and suffer from severe headaches as a result.

Your ears can also suffer from cuts, bruises and from foreign objects flying into them, such as might result if you were using a chainsaw to cut down a tree and a piece of wood from it flew up and cut you or even entered your ear and got lodged within the ear due to the speed and force with which it entered it. Therefore, once again, you need to ensure that your ears are not only protected from noise but from possible objects that could fly up into them too.

Ear Protection

The two main forms of ear protection are ear muffs and ear plugs and if you’re in certain jobs where you need either constant protection from extreme levels of intermittent noise such as working on or close to the runway of an airport or operating the likes of a pneumatic drill. Ear muffs will not only better protect you in terms of the intermittent exposure to the noise, in drilling, they will also protect you from ear injuries such as cuts and bruises caused by flying debris or stones which have been thrown up. Ear plugs are more likely to be worn where the level of noise is not quite as loud, but still above the acceptable level to work without ear protection and where the noise is more constant such as in a factory with multiple machines running at the same time.

Both of these issues are covered by health and safety legislation so be sure to know your rights and that your employer provides you with the correct protective equipment.

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