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First Aid: For Eye Emergencies
First Aid Eye, Emergency Eye Wash

Most industrial workers like in the power washer industry don’t think about the first aid eye kit or the emergency eye wash station until they are needed. The problem with that situation is that the instructions will be hard to read if your eyes are the ones injured. A commercial cleaning business should train all employees to properly administer first aid for eye injuries and have a very visible and operational emergency eye wash station on each jobsite.

A first aid eye kit should contain a rigid eye shield and some commercial eyewash. It would also help to have some instructions in the first aid kit for the person whose eyes aren’t injured. The way you use the kit or the wash station will depend on the kind of eye

injury a person has sustained. Possible scenarios and their corresponding first aid instructions are explained below. Some universal guidelines are; NEVER assume that an eye injury is harmless, always administer first aid, and involve a doctor as soon as possible.

Scenario: Particles are blown or fall into the eye.

First Aid: Wash the eye with eyewash or let the tears flush the particles. It may help to lift the eyelid outward and down over the eye. NEVER try to rub a particle out of the eye. If the particle will not wash out, bandage the eye lightly and see a doctor.

Scenario: Chemicals are sprayed or splashed into the eye.

First Aid: Flush the eye right away with water or any drinkable liquid. Rinse the eye using a faucet, shower or emergency eye wash station. Hold the eye open as wide as possible during the flushing, and continue flushing for at least 15 minutes. Do not use an eyecup or cover the eye in any way; once the chemicals are flushed, you will want any possible fumes to dissipate, not collect around the eye. Get medical help immediately once you are done flushing.

Scenario: The eye is struck or hit.

First Aid: Use an ice pack or cold compress, but do not put pressure directly on the eye. The compress should rest on the ridge of the forehead, the cheekbone or the nose. Severe pain, reduced vision, or discoloration may indicate internal damage to the eye, so get medical help right away.

Scenario: The eye or eyelid is cut or punctured.

First Aid: This is one eye injury in which you should NOT wash or flush the eye, as you could cause more damage by doing so. You should also NOT attempt to remove any object from the eye or eyelid. Cover the eye with a rigid shield; a paper cup can be inverted over the eye in case more clearance is needed. Get the injured person to a doctor at once.

Any job like pressure washing which involves pressurized liquid, flying objects or particles, and hazardous chemicals has the potential for eye injury. Consequently, people who work in these jobs should be wearing eye protection. We are all aware, though, that not all eye protection is foolproof, and not all employees – or their bosses - are compliant. It’s best to just presume that an eye injury will happen, and be prepared when it does. First aid eye kits are easily assembled and transported, and portable emergency eye wash stations are available for very reasonable prices. Beyond that, all that you and your employees need is the right information, and an on-the-job eye injury can simply mean a long afternoon at the emergency room instead of a long-term relationship with an injury lawyer.



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