Eye Injury Prevention

July is Eye Injury Prevention month. Are you are cutting corners that may leave you susceptible to an eye injury? Are there times you’re not wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)? Think of how you use your eyes to understand so much of the world around you. Think of the beauty your eyes capture. Saskatchewan is known as Land of Living Skies and recently I took this photo of Mammatus clouds right over my house. They were a joy to behold.

Are there are times you “forget” about eye safety? If you haven’t read the blog about my son’s lawn dart injury you should check it out. By simply not addressing the hazard and throwing the lawn darts away, I nearly cost my son his vision. Below are 2 small incidents you may be able to relate to…

I’ve got a 2-cycle gas lawn trimmer. It seems to be a bit of an ordeal to start because I don’t use it often enough and the fuel gets old. After treating my fuel with a bit of STP last season my trimmer was running awesome. I was trimming up a storm and the yard was looking terrific! Then, I caught myself. I was trimming my grass and squinting away so that none of the debris would hit me. What was I doing? I stopped immediately and got my safety glasses. As a safety speaker I may be a little more aware of my own hypocrisy, my actions certainly weren’t in line with my beliefs so I stopped myself.

Are you working on tasks without the proper eye protection? Are there safety hazards you talk about, but don’t practice?

I want to share a quick story from when I was teaching Industrial Arts in Balcarres High School. My students knew the importance of welding helmets; in fact the helmets were always in high demand whenever a solar eclipse was announced. I recall the Monday morning when one of my students came into class with bloodshot eyes.

I inquired, “What were you up to this weekend?”

He gave me the typically teenage response, “Why?”

I continued, “Well, I just noticed your eyes look bloodshot this morning and you’re squinting”.

He said, “I needed to weld the frame of the trailer, but the problem was I couldn’t get underneath the trailer with my welding helmet so I just welded without it.”

I was flabbergasted, “Are you kidding me? What were you thinking? Don’t you remember us talking about how dangerous the welding arc is to the naked eye? You could’ve permanently damaged your eyes.”

He calmly responded, “Don’t worry, it was just a little weld, it didn’t even take me 5 minutes. I couldn’t get to it with my helmet on, besides my eyes feel better already.”

This example might seem a little extreme, but for my student he felt completely justified. Are you spending time justifying your actions? Are you putting your sight in jeopardy? Stop to think about how important your vision is … are you really willing to risk it? Take time to enjoy the vivid colours all around you.

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