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Eye safety is very important when doing any activity that involves chemicals, tools or materials that can break and fly in to your eye. Using appropriate eye protection should be as automatic as putting on a seat belt when you get into a car. Putting on safety goggles should be the first thing you do when undertaking anything that could cause an eye injury. Here are some tips for protecting your eyes in the workplace and at home.

1. Think before you start

When doing any DIY, cleaning work, using chemicals or power tools, do an assessment of what could cause an eye injury.

2. Check your surroundings

Check who and what is nearby when doing any activity that involves chemicals, tools or materials that can break and fly into your eye. Make sure there are no trips, hazards, distractions or children in the area.

3. Cut down the risk

Reduce the risk of an eye injury by controlling potential hazards. Suggestions include:

  • Don’t use equipment you are not familiar with.
  • Replace high-risk equipment and toxic chemicals with safer alternatives wherever possible.

4. Wear appropriate protection

Eye wear such as prescription glasses, sunglasses and contact lenses do not protect against injury. Always use eye protection that complies with the Australian Standard.

Safety goggles offer more protection than safety glasses. Safety goggles must:

  • Be close-fitting around your eyes and side of your head.
  • Fit comfortably so that you can leave them on for long period

5. Children

Make sure children don’t:

  • Throw sand, dirt or small things at others.
  • Run with pencils, pens or other pointy object
  • Use sprays incorrectly.

6. Do It Yourself (DIY)

Many eye injuries occur when people are doing DIY projects. Think about your eyes and use Australian Standard eye protection when:

  • Hammering
  • Using power tools
  • Fencing or using wire
  • Using nail guns
  • Welding

7. Gardening

Sunglasses are not enough to protect your eyes during gardening. Use Australian Standard eye protection when:

  • Lawn mowing
  • Pruning (to protect from clippings and plant sap – some sap contains chemicals which are dangerous to the eye)
  • Using a whipper snipper

8. Chemicals

Be careful with all chemicals as many of them are dangerous to the eye, including common household products. Wear Australian Standard eye protection when using:

  • Oven cleaner
  • Pool cleaner
  • Polish
  • Cleaning products
  • Bleach

9. First aid

  • Always have adequate first aid equipment available.
  • Chemicals – hold your face under running water for up to 20 minutes and allow the water to flood into your eyes.
  • Cuts, punctures or foreign objects – do not wash or rub the eye or try to remove objects.

10. Seek medical help immediately

See your local GP or, if serious, come into our Emergency Department.

Disclaimer This document describes the generally accepted practice at the time of publication only. It is only a summary of clinical knowledge regarding this area. The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital makes no warranty, express or implied, that the information contained in this document is comprehensive. They accept no responsibility for any consequence arising from inappropriate application of this information.

  • Ten tips to protect your eyes #25
  • Owner: Emergency Department
  • Last Reviewed: May 28, 2020
  • Next Review: May 28, 2023