MOST COMPANIES are providing inadequate prescription safety eyewear to their employees, despite conducting risk assessments and believing they had issued the correct specification, according to a survey by Arco.
Currently, one in three employees need eyewear that is prescription – a number expected to rise to one in two as the workforce ages.
The survey found that while most companies are confident they have a robust process in place to provide safety eyewear that will protect employees and comply with safety regulations, 6 in 11 companies were not meeting those standards.
Companies can mistakenly believe that a correct specification leads to the right products being purchased and supplied to employees. As a consequence, they are often unaware there may be flaws and hidden vulnerabilities in the purchasing processes, which means that employees end up wearing prescription safety eyewear that has an inadequate level of protection, and would not protect their eyes from impacts.
Over 2,000 people each year in the UK suffer eye injuries in the workplace, with 10%-20% of those injured experiencing temporary or permanent vision loss.
However, the correct eye protection could lessen the severity or even prevent 90% of eye injury accidents.
Managers are ultimately responsible for their employees’ safety and can be held legally accountable for accidents and injuries. In addition, new sentencing guidelines introduced in 2016 mean fines can now be issued based on the risk of potential harm to employees, long before an actual accident occurs.
Alex Turgoose, Product & Procurement Manager at Arco, said, “To keep people safe at work, it is critical that those who wear prescription safety eyewear are being given the same level of protection as those who are working alongside them in non-prescription safety eyewear.
“It is deeply concerning that this is not the case and to see the extent of the problem. Having employees wearing an incorrect specification can have an overwhelming impact on business and employees in the unfortunate event of an accident.”