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September 28, 2012

Are Manufacturing Employees Ignoring Eye Protection?

Eye protetection safety signDespite OSHA requirements for eye and face protection, 85 percent of surveyed U.S. industrial workers said they had observed others failing to wear eye protection when they should have been.

"The results are very disconcerting when you consider that 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented through the use of proper protective eyewear," said a Kimberly-Clark Professional spokesperson. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that nearly three out of five injured workers were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident or were wearing the wrong kind of eye protection for the job.

The survey of 138 workers in manufacturing industries across the U.S., Canada and Mexico, was conducted in the summer of 2011, with results released this week. Respondents were employed in the following fields: metal manufacturing, industrial manufacturing, construction/utilities, automotive, transportation equipment or other industries.

The high rate of noncompliance seriously jeopardizes worker health and safety, but survey participants recognized the importance of eye safety. Eighty percent said they would encourage a co-worker or employee to wear eye protection, and 22 percent said they would report the employee to a supervisor or find a way to halt dangerous work operations until the worker complied with PPE protocols.

When asked what would most improve compliance with eye protection protocols, the top choice was more comfortable eyewear-with features like flexible, comfortable nose pieces (56 percent) followed by fog-free lenses (22 percent). Fifty-one percent of respondents also reported having been forced to wear uncomfortable eyewear or eyewear they did not like while at work. Of these, 46 percent wound up purchasing their own eye protection, while 45 percent said they "used it anyway."

Fogging was also a problem on the job, with 88 percent of respondents saying they or someone they worked with had been unable to see or complete a task properly because of fogged lenses. Forty percent of respondents said this had happened on "numerous occasions."

More information on workplace eye safety can be found at:

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