Eye Injuries in Cabinet Shops-How to avoid damaging your vision
Learning how to avoid having an eye injury comes through training on ways of protecting your vision. Unfortunately, many people must learn the hard way by loosing their eyesight due to a shop related accident. There are many ways that cabinet employees or craftsmen can injure themselves while working with machinery, wood, plastics, metals, glues and chemicals. Injuries can be avoided if people will only take time to protect themselves from having an accident.
In several of the cabinet shops I have worked in there were employees who cut their fingers and some who had eye related accidents. Most of the time, these incidents could have been avoided by the personnel using precautionary measures or wearing protective equipment.
Why in the world don’t woodworkers take the time to put on safety goggles? Well let me tell you this, when a person becomes either blind in one eye or has a near accident, they get wise because of the horrible experience. It’s sad but true; many craftsmen don’t protect their eyesight until it’s too late. It seems like these safety glasses are troublesome to wear because they fog up and sometimes impair vision.
Better to have fogged up glasses than a blinded eye.
Here are a few real life stories of injuries that occurred because cabinet makers were not wearing eye protection.
- Dust in the Face-I’ll never forget this accident that happened many years ago. It was in Florida during the summertime. The cabinet shop was not air conditioned therefore we had to use very large industrial fans that put out a lot of air circulation. An employee was sanding a six inch high back splash that was made of pine. For some reason it was necessary for him to sand this piece a lot creating a significant pile of sawdust on the board. He did not have safety glasses on. When he finished sanding the piece, hurriedly he picked it up and swung it directly into the path of the blasting fan air. Swoosh, into his open eyes the dust went causing him to scream for water and help. He was OK but the pine dust caused his eyes to swell for a couple of days. There could have been more damaging affects if he had a more severe allergic reaction to the fabricating material.
- Lacquer Thinner in the Eyes-This accident happened when a worker was not wearing eye protection. Lacquer thinner is used a lot in plastic laminate cabinet fabrication facilities. When this injury occurred, a brand new, never opened five gallon pale of lacquer thinner was under tremendous pressure due to the summer heat in the shop. The worker was in a hurry, took the cap off the can, and pulled the seal out that ensures that the liquid doesn’t spill during transport. As soon as he pulled and brokethe seal allowing air in, the built up pressure caused a spew of the chemical to go directly into his eyes. Lucky for him there was a fellow worker about twenty feet away with a full gallon of clean water to instantly flush his eyes out with. This injury did not have a damaging effect on his eyesight.
- Sharp Melamine Edge Almost Causes Blindness-Among the eye injuries that I have seen, on this occasion a man was going to the wood rack to pull out a board that was over his head. The problem occurred when he did not see the board that was sticking out from a lower shelf which had a razor sharp, hard plastic Melamine edge and it barley grazed his eye. A trip to the emergency room revealed that he did not do any permanent damage.
In all of the above injuries, if the cabinet shop’s workers had been wearing safety goggles or glasses, there would have ever been an emergency room bill or a need for filling out an injury report for the possibility of workman’s compensation Insurance claims. All of these stories could have had more damaging results due to the carelessness of workers not wearing eye protection. Take this statement to heart, “avoid the possibility of eye related injury by wearing safety glasses.” It’s easy to eliminate health hazards by just taking a moment to protect yourself.