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Briefing November 2020

Eye protection

We use our eyes to collect information from our working environment. Every year, countless accidents occur at work that cause eye injuries. There are technical and organizational possibilities for protecting this organ. Often, however, only personal eye protection protects against residual risks. It must, like all personal protective equipment, be carefully selected in order to be acceptable.

Possible hazards/strains:

  • Flying parts (e.g. shavings, fragments)
  • Splashing liquids (e.g. cooling lubricants, chemicals)
  • Optical radiation (e.g. arc, laser)
  • Glare and reflection (difficulties in recognizing and estimating internal processes)
  • Unused eye protection (because it is uncomfortable, the eye protection is fogged, unsuitable or unfashionable) 
  • An uncomfortable combination of different Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as earmuffs and goggles

What can happen?

  • Mechanical injuries, e.g. due to foreign bodies
  • Chemical burns, e.g. from acids, alkaline solutions
  • "Flash burn" (arc during welding)
  •  Absences

What can be done?

Identify and assess hazards and define protective measures according to the STOP ranking:

  • Check whether there are alternatives to work with such a risk (substitution)
  • Perform work in closed systems
  • Separate workplaces, e.g. by protective walls or blinds
  • Pay attention to the use of existing safety devices (e.g. protective covers on circular saws or the like)
  • Provide and use extraction systems
  • Temporal or spatial relocation of the work
  • Provision of personal eye protection
  • If necessary, equip sight-impaired eyes with corrective goggles
  • Identification of the areas in which eye protection must be worn.


Determination of the right personal eye protection

  • Determination of the remaining residual risk for eye injuries using accident risk assessment and evaluation
  • Selection of eye protection (safety glasses, goggles, visors, shields, fitover glasses, corrective safety goggles) for the particular workplace or working method.
  • Consideration of further necessary PPE.

Selection and provision of personal eye protection

  • Testing the selected eye protection in practice through wearer trials by the employees
  • Free provision of eye protection for employees (exceptionof additional costs for the "correction lens" in safety goggles)
  • Preparation of operating instructions for use, care, and replacement of eye protection.

Use of personal eye protection

  • Instruction of the employees by the supervisors for the use, care, and rejection of personal eye protection, e.g. in the context of a work or process-specific instruction
  • Explicit indication of why a switch to another safety-related eye protection is to be carried out in which work.
  • Hints for storage: not placed loosely in the chest or ruler pockets, but in a sturdy storage Container
  • Tips for cleaning: If there is no cleaning station available for eye protection, they are to be cleaned e.g. with water and a detergent-free hand cleaner, dried with a clean soft cloth (see also manufacturer's instructions). Visors are often provided with replaceable foil.


Acceptance of wearing goggles definitely increases when supervisors lead by example!

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