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Eye Injuries in the Workplace: Causes and Treatments

Mere seconds of delay in treating an eye injury can make a difference between temporary and permanent damage to one’s eyes. The immediate and efficient first response to eye injuries is necessary to save someone’s vision.

To do that, you need skills, knowledge, and a fully stocked First Aid Kit.

Skills and knowledge can be acquired by training, but a First Aid Kit should be rented from Alsco. That is the most reliable way to be 100% sure that it is stocked, up to date and up to legal standards.

In some workplaces, it is more likely to obtain an eye injury than in the others. Still, the types of eye injuries that occur are more or less the same at all of these places.

It is more likely to get a chemical burn in a lab and a black eye in a warehouse, but a foreign object in your eye can happen anywhere.

Here are the most common types of eye injuries and what to do if something like that happens.

Foreign Objects in the Eye

There are all sorts of things that can find their way into the unprotected eyes. Splinters, larger dust particles, and even bugs occasionally end up there. If this occurs, there are some dos and don’ts about treating this injury.


  • Wash your hands before touching the injured eye
  • Try to rinse the eye, preferably using the eye washing station
  • Remove the contact lenses from the victim’s eyes
  • Use clean and wet cotton swab if the object is in the white area of the eye, but only so that the objects stick to the swab. Never to dig the object out.


  • Rub the injured eye
  • Try to use tweezers or similar tools to remove the object
  • Try to remove metal objects from the eye. Only a doctor should do that

Scratched Cornea

This injury is usually the consequence of a foreign object being stuck in the eye. In most cases, the cornea gets scratched because a person attempts to rub the eye. The recommended actions are similar to those when the foreign object gets stuck into the eye:

  • Don’t rub.
  • Rinse or remove the object if possible.
  • Close your eye or wear an eye patch until it heals.

Black Eye

This is a bruise that occurs when the area around the eye has been injured. A black eye does not occur instantaneously, so there are steps that can be taken to prevent it.

  • Step 1 – Keep the person’s head elevated. This will prevent the blood from building up and causing swelling.
  • Step 2 – Check the eye itself for possible injuries. Black eye affects the surrounding area.
  • Step 3 – Apply an ice pack to the eye to reduce the swelling and bruising. These should be applied every 10 minutes. Do not use packs that contain chemicals. These can rupture and cause further damage to the eye.
  • Step 4 – After several days, when the swelling calms down, use warm packs to speed up the bruise fading.

Chemical Burns

Chemical burns can be very serious and they should be prevented at all times. If you are working in an area where these types of injuries are possible, make sure that you wear eye protection at all times.

There are two major classes of chemicals that can hurt your eyes: acids and alkali. These chemicals are found in different cleaning products. They don’t have to reach your eyes directly in order to hurt you, but they can produce fumes that are harmful.

Either way, if any other liquid besides clean water reaches your eyes and causes a reaction of any kind, you should rinse the eye and seek immediate medical help.

Small Cuts to the Eye

If there is a cut in the eye area it is important to react quickly. The first thing to do is to grab the First Aid Kit and get a sterile cloth to apply pressure to the bleeding area.

Pressure should be applied gently but firmly in order to stop the bleeding. However, do not apply it directly to the eyeball.

As soon as possible, go to the doctor’s for an exam because some cuts can cause further damage to tear ducts or your vision.

Heat Burns

There is no reason to expose your unprotected eyes to the sources of great heat. It that happens, it is absolutely necessary to seek help immediately. Three things should be done one after another.

  • Flushing with cool water. This should be done immediately. The eye should be under the cool,running water and the injured person should attempt to close and open the eye and move it while underwater. This should be done for half an hour.
  • Applying sterile bandage. The bandage should be taken from the First Aid Kit to make sure it is sterile. Also, it should be applied carefully and without any unnecessary pressure.
  • Seeking professional help. Burns can cause serious damage that is hard to repair. They can get infected and cause much bigger problems. Therefore, a doctor should check any eye injury that was caused by heat.

You can be prepared to provide proper First aid in cases of all eye injuries if you have a proper First Aid Kit. Moreover, if it contains the eyewash station, you can provide even better and safer care.

These are only a phone call away. Call 0800 4 ALSCO and ask about our rental services. Once you agree to let Alsco help you, you will get:

  • First Aid Kit and eyewash station that meets legal requirements
  • Regular and thorough check-up of these items
  • Regular and full restocking and repairing in case this is needed
  • Regular replacement after the expiry date
  • Priceless advice on where to place these items and how to use them

All this is included in only ONE annual fee. There will be no additional costs and no hidden charges. Make an enquiry today and make the first step toward a safer workplace.

Photo Courtesy: Flickr Image by Amy Messere

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