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Do You See What 'Eye' See?

Do You See What 'Eye' See?


Fort Rucker, Alabama

When I was coming up through the ranks as a young mechanic, I learned a valuable lesson from the officer in charge of a direct-support maintenance shop. One day, I approached this crafty senior warrant officer to discuss coming to work for him. As he listened to me, he casually pulled out his handkerchief, removed his glasses and unexpectedly popped out his glass eye into a white handkerchief and began to clean it. Needless to say, I was speechless and just stared with my mouth hanging open. After he finished cleaning his eye, he put it back into the empty socket, replaced his glasses and said, “I’ll see what I can do.”

It took a month before I finally got the courage to ask Chief how he lost his eye. He told me it happened when he doing hands-on training during his Warrant Officer Advanced Course. One day, as he left the work area to get a cup of coffee, he lifted his goggles up onto his forehead. At the same time, a sledgehammer that another student was using shattered into pieces. As Chief walked out of the area, a shard from the hammer flew across the room and struck him in the eye, slicing it open. His tragic story forever changed my perspective on eye protection and taught me a very valuable lesson: Keep your eyewear on at all times whenever you’re in a work area.

Data collected by the Program Manager Soldier indicates that eye injuries account for 10 percent of all Soldier injuries. Soldiers and civilians working in maintenance areas should be using some form of eye protection whenever they are in their shops and respective work areas.

In our motor parks and maintenance bays, eye injuries predominantly occur during battery maintenance, welding or grinding operations, or from metal fragments created by activities such as hammering or using bolt cutters. In more than one-third of the reported eye injuries, the individual was either not wearing the required protective eyewear or was wearing it improperly. Hazards from dust and debris, flying objects or particles that can strike you in the face or eyes can be easily defended by using the proper safety glasses and goggles.

Various activities require different types of glasses or goggles. So what is the right protection and when should certain types be worn? Well, for starters, safety goggles are an appropriate substitution for safety glasses and can provide better overall protection. However, safety glasses are not an appropriate substitute for safety goggles. Here’s why: Safety glasses are effective for deflecting a direct impact from flying objects such as nails, metal shards, etc. Goggles give added protection against dust and fine particles, splashing liquids and high-wind/gusting conditions.

No matter how routine the task or how low the risk, wearing the right eye protection for the job is the best defense against an accidental eye injury or loss. Whether in the motor pool or on a combat logistics patrol, protecting your eyes is as easy as it is smart.

Even if you use a face shield in operations such as grinding, you also still need to wear safety glasses under the shield.

Did You Know?
The main difference between safety glasses and regular glasses is their resistance to impact. The American National Standards Institute, which sets standards for safety glasses, requires them to withstand the impact of a quarter-inch steel ball traveling 150 feet per second. You can't depend on prescription glasses for that kind of protection. Frames stamped with the imprint "Z87" meet stringent standards for strength and heat resistance. Program Executive Office Soldier has an approved list of eye protection for Soldier use at http://www.peosoldier.army.mil/equipment/eyewear/.

Did You Know?
March is recognized as Workplace Eye Wellness Month in an effort to educate workers on how to protect their vision while on the job.

  • 11 March 2018
  • Author: Army Safety
  • Number of views: 1549
  • Comments: 0