Do You Protect Your Eyes/Face?

Protecting your eyes and face is important in the workplace and outside of work. 40% of all accidents that cause blindness occur at home. OSHA states that eye injuries cost employers over $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses, and worker compensation.

Things to consider when working with hazardous material in the lab:

  • Be familiar with the Safety Data Sheet to know what PPE is recommended.
  • Review the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Assessment Form (for Research Laboratories) for the lab which should be found in the Safety Binder.
  • Know where the eyewash stations are located in your lab area.
  • Use an eyewear retainer strap to minimize scratches on the lens of your glasses.
  • Always use safety goggles and a full-face shield when transferring liquid nitrogen.
  • Use ANZI approved glasses for the appropriate wave length when working with lasers.
  • Familiarize and follow the lab’s standard operating procedures.
  • There are numerous examples in the literature of laboratory-acquired infections in laboratory personnel due to facial exposures to infectious agents. Eye and face protection should be worn as another barrier to prevent exposure when there is a risk for splashing of blood or infectious materials into the eye or face.
  • Eye and eye protection also help prevent accidental contact of contaminated gloved hands with eyes, nose and mouth during work activities.

When not in the lab:

  • Do you wear safety glasses when cutting your lawn?
  • What about eye protection during weekend projects with the table saw?
  • Do you get eye exams at least every 2 years?
  • When outdoors, do you use sunglasses to protect from UV light?
  • Do you use a goggle/mask when playing a sport such as racquetball or lacrosse?

OSHA provides detailed information on recognizing and evaluating eye and face hazards and provides possible solutions for these hazards. Please visit

Contact your research safety liaison for any additional help in evaluating PPE.

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