Innovative solution to improve workplace eye safety

New Eye Company Pty Ltd
By Mansi Gandhi
Wednesday, 18 July, 2012

Work-related eye injuries result in around 500 hospital admissions a year in Australia, according to a Safe Work Australia 2008 report. In Victoria alone there were 7299 emergency department presentations for work-related eye injuries from July 2002 to June 2004. From 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2004 (inclusive), there were 1049 cases of work-related eye injury resulting in hospital admission, according to the report.

While there were 7299 emergency department presentations in Victoria for work-related eye injuries, in Queensland, there were 2144 cases, states the report. There were 822 accepted serious claims for eye injuries in the workers compensation data provided by Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania for the 2-year period, it adds. These claims involved the injured worker requiring one or more weeks off work. Eye injuries can be avoided by wearing the right safety glasses. The use of the correct safety glasses will ensure the safety of workers and help employers avoid injury and claims costs.

Andreas Mehringer (Managing Director/Optician), a Queensland, Australia-based innovator and Managing Director of New Eye Company, has developed a unique idea to improve eye safety. His patented IC Safety System comprises two components - a pair of IC Safety Frames and an inner Astralon optical foil that includes the wearer’s prescription lenses, offering distortion-free optical correction in all workplace environments. The polycarbonate safety frames are UV 400 rated, antifog and antiscratch, and meet the requirements of Australian Standard 1337.1. The Astralon foil can be easily clipped into generic safety glasses and fits all the IC Safety approved frames.

Mehringer says the biggest challenge was finding the right material for the foil. This was difficult as he had to come up with a material that could hold optic lenses, was flexible and could slip into glasses. If the wearers of prescription safety glasses scratch a lens, they could be off work for days till they get replacement glasses. As against this, if the IC Safety frame is scratched then the prescription foil can be removed and clipped into another frame, allowing the worker to be back on the job very quickly, says Mehringer.

The company’s key target sectors include mining, construction and medical services, says Mehringer. The IC Safety System has already been sold to a number of companies such as BP Australia,  Downer EDI, Origin Energy, Sullair and Programmed Maintenance Services amongst others. The system has also bagged an ABC show New Inventors award.

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