As a Construction Worker, Why Is It Important to Wear Eye and Face Protection?

Employers have a responsibility to protect their construction workers from harm. With such a dangerous and chaotic field, it is imperative that protective equipment is provided and used. In the event of an accident, the body and senses can get hurt, including our skin, muscles, tendons, nerves, hearing, eyesight, and more. Eye and face gear must be able to protect against hazards, fit well, be reasonably comfortable to wear, provide unrestricted vision and movement, and be clean and durable.

Those who have been in construction accidents as an employee are encouraged to meet with a workers’ compensation attorney, like a workers’ compensation attorney in Long Island, if they feel as though their employer or a coworker were at least partially at fault. When protective equipment fails due to another’s negligence, the results can be tragic. 

What are the common forms of eye and face protection?

Eye and face protection provided by an employer must meet the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). There are various types of protection depending on the material a construction employee is working with and the task itself. Here are some of the most commonly used methods of face and eye protection: 

  • Welding Shields: made of fiberglass or vulcanized fiber, these shields protect the eyes from being burned while working with intense radiant or infrared light. The eyes are guarded against flying sparks, slag chips, and splatter of metal while using brazing, soldering, or welding machinery. 
  • Face Shields: this shield is placed from near the eyebrows to below the chin and over the width of the worker’s face if the eyes are vulnerable to being exposed to radiation. 
  • Dust Goggles: direct ventilated protective goggles resist large particles from being projected into the eyes.
  • Safety Glasses: frames made of plastic or metal that is resistant to impact. 
  • Chemical Splash Goggles: gear that rests over the eyes surrounding facial area to protect from splashes, dust, and impact. 

What chemicals are so dangerous that eye protection is recommended?

A construction worker who is going to be exposed to dangerous chemicals must wear eye and face protection. Chemicals that are dangerous include highly reactive, pyrophoric solids/liquids, cryogenic liquids, chemicals that may splash, potentially infectious microorganisms, radiation, and any other materials that could cause harm. When it comes to biological material, eye protection may be needed when removing or properly disposing of them. Chemicals that are of a hazardous nature pose a risk to an employee’s health, so it’s essential that gear is utilized in the construction workplace without exceptions.

What if I sustained an eye injury and my employer didn’t provide gear?

A construction worker who was not provided gear to protect their eyes and face is strongly advised to get legal representation. Unfortunately, your employer may have intentionally not offered this gear as a way to save the company money. While you may be qualified to apply for workers’ compensation benefits, there may be a larger issue at play. A lawyer can help ensure that your rights are not being violated as your compensation claim is being handled. 

Thanks to Polsky, Shouldice, & Rosen, P.C. for their insight into why it is so important for construction workers to wear eye and face protection at work.