In the construction industry, it sadly isn't rare that workers' eyes are injured. Foreign bodies like dirt and dust particles, sand, paint chips and fragments of metal can easily get into the eyes without the proper protection, such as safety goggles or welding masks.
These tiny objects will likely cause discomfort and distraction – a serious hazard when total focus is needed to remain safe and alert while working. If they're not washed out or removed, they can lead to infection and inflammation, which causes impaired vision. Eye tearing is a natural remedy that attempts to dislodge particles before they can do much damage, so it's good to let the eyes water for a while to use the flow to remove the foreign bodies.
If eye watering isn't working, gently flush eyes out with lukewarm water for about 15 minutes. If this is also unsuccessful, patch both eyes to minimize movement of the injured eye and seek medical attention. You should never let your injured coworker rub their eyes because that can cause abrasions to the eyeball and eyelids and possibly push the particles deeper into the eye, causing more damage.
If the person has objects embedded in or penetrating the eye or if the eyeball is protruding from its socket, you should:
- Cut a hole in a thick wound dressing (such as gauze) that is big enough to cover the eye without touching the object.
- Use an object that is wide and durable enough to protect the foreign body without putting pressure onto the eye.
- Whichever method you use, wrap a roller bandage around their head multiple times to secure the dressing, but not so tight that it causes discomfort.
For help with accident prevention, reach out to Safety Advantage, LLC to foster construction site safety.