Eye Safety


Find out how to select the right eye protection, wear it, how it works, how to care for it and more.

It only takes a small accident to cause irreparable damage to your eyes.

ACC receives more than 9000 claims for workplace eye injuries each year. Many of those injured are left with long-term impaired vision and some are blinded.

Workplace eye injuries cost New Zealand more than $3 million every year – a figure which does not take into account lost productivity.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act, employers are required to provide appropriate personal protective equipment, such as eye protection, where there is a risk of eye injury. They must also ensure workers are trained in when and how to use their eye protection, as well as how to maintain it. Workers must wear eye protection if required to by their employer and the request is reasonable.

Follow these steps to reduce the risk of eye injuries:

When to wear eye protection:
  • Always assess the risk of work to determine if eye protection is necessary – can the risk be eliminated using other controls? What is the severity of the risk and the potential eye damage?
  • Even if not carrying out a task with an obvious eye hazard, you may be at risk from others nearby. Always have your eye protection with you and if in doubt – wear it.
  • Remember to protect others from your welding work and never watch any welding processes unless wearing suitable eye protection.
  • Always wear eye protection when compressed air, hazardous substances, cartridge-fired tools, power tools, power washers, hand tools such as chisels are in use.
  • Think about whether the work requires high impact protection.
  • Some work will require full face shield protection.
Maintenance and use:
  • Ensure eye protection provided fits comfortably and is suitable for the job.
  • Look after any eye protection provided - keep it clean and store it in a soft case.
  • Report and replace any lost, damaged, or unserviceable eye protection
  • Make sure the eye protection fully covers the eyes.
  • If needed, invest in prescription eye protection.
What should you do if you do receive an eye injury?
  • Seek medical assistance should you get something in your eye or receive any sort of eye injury.  Avoid rubbing the eye, as this can make it worse. Minor irritations can be treated by flushing the eye with sterile water (from a first aid kit).
  • Record injury in accident register
  • Ensure your supervisor is aware of the injury

Choosing the right eye protection

 Hazard  Examples  Protection
 Thrown   particles  Grinding, blasting, flying objects.  Goggles or glasses with side shield and faceshield
 Thrown   objects  Chipping operations, demolition; flying nuts, bolts and springs  High-impact face shields and goggles
 Splashes  Molten metals, hot or very cold liquids, corrosive liquids, chemicals         or detergents  Goggles and masks
 Dusts  Powdered materials, abrasives, dry organic materal, chemicals   and     some corrosives.  Light goggles
 Fumes  Potentially corrosive or irritant - may be produced by hot   materials,       chemical reagents or automotive exhaust fumes.  Goggles and masks
 Radiation  Welding glare, furnace work or laser radiation  Googles, visors, hand-held shields, specific   wavelength filter lenses, faceshields