Workplace eye safety campaign

Friday, 21 May, 2010

According to the report 'Epidemiology of ocular trauma in Australia', 60% of all eye injuries happen at work. As such, optometrists are urging every workplace to put eye safety procedures in place as part of a new national campaign.

Optometrists Association Australia (OAA) and HOYA Lens Australia recently launched ‘Eye accidents change lives forever’ - a comprehensive workplace eye safety campaign.

The Australian Safety and Compensation Council 2008 report 'Conclusions, Work Related Eye Injuries in Australia' states that most workplace eye injuries happen within the construction, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining industries, and often occur during grinding and welding-related tasks.

“Workers often sustain eye injuries when walking by or helping others perform tasks without wearing any, or the appropriate, eye protection,” said the Optometrists Association's Professional Services Manager, Shirley Loh. “It’s important that employers and employees work together to ensure eye safety procedures are in place and followed to prevent accidents.

“Optometrists can provide professional advice and guidance to help ensure workplaces are aware of their responsibilities in eye safety. Our members are preparing to go into workplaces to conduct vision screenings with employees. The process will involve identifying and analysing visual hazards and determining ways to improve eye comfort in specific work settings.

“Most eye injuries can be prevented with simple precautions and by ensuring employees have appropriate eye protection, such as prescription or non-prescription safety eyewear.”

Brad Bairstow, HOYA Lens Australia’s Sales and Marketing Director, added: “Occupational health and safety awareness is growing considerably in the community and we see our alliance with the Optometrists Association as a key component in ensuring our industry is well educated in the application of safety eyewear.”

The Optometrists Association will assist optometrists in conducting workplace vision screenings across Australia, with the overall aim of reducing the number of eye injuries.

The association has also developed a brochure that provides advice on protecting and looking after the health of workers' eyes. Information on the campaign and the brochure can be downloaded from www.optometrists.asn.au/eyesafety.

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