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Charlotte, N.C. — The National Service Alliance (NSA), a group-purchasing organization for the professional cleaning industry, recently offered the following suggestions for contract cleaners and custodial workers to help them protect their vision.
Custodial workers rank "above average" when it comes to job-related injuries, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and this includes eye injuries.
"While a chemical splash can burn the eye, causing one of the most serious forms of eye injuries, it certainly is not the only type of hazard impacting the eyes of custodial workers," says Tobi Colbert, business development manager, NSA. "Very often, eye injuries are the result of small airborne particles or objects striking the eye, such as metal slivers, dust, even staples and nails."
Because of this, Colbert says custodial workers should wear eye protection at all times. Among her other suggestions:
• All cleaning contractors should install an emergency eye-drenching and flushing center in the facilities they maintain. The center should be easily accessible and take no more than 10 seconds to reach.
• Workers should test different goggles for comfort. Goggles should fit comfortably, stay in place, and provide side protection. If more protection is needed, especially when an individual is working with chemicals, a face shield should be worn over the goggles.
• Workers should wear goggles with "indirect" venting to protect from chemical splashes.
• Select eye gear with an anti-fog coating. "If the goggles fog up, the worker may take them off and forget to put them back on," Colbert said. "This becomes an accident just waiting to happen.
"Cleaning contractors should also know there are ANSI standards for protective eye gear," Colbert added. "They have been tested and certified to help protect workers' eyes."
The NSA is a buying group serving the professional contract cleaning industry. It now has nearly 70 contract cleaner members.