Working in the electric utility industry presents numerous potential hazards, particularly when it comes to eye safety. APS (Arizona Public Service), the largest electric utility in Arizona, is no exception. Ensuring that APS workers are adequately protected while on the job is a top priority. As part of this protection, adhering to guidelines for safety glasses set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is essential. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the OSHA regulations for safety glasses, specifically focusing on APS workers.
The Importance of Eye Safety at APS
In the electric utility industry, eye safety is of utmost importance. APS workers, due to the nature of their work, are exposed to various potential eye hazards such as flying debris, harmful chemicals, intense light from arc flashes, and UV radiation. All of these can lead to significant eye injuries, resulting in discomfort, vision impairment, or even permanent vision loss.
Potential Eye Hazards for APS Workers
Flying Debris: Working with electric lines, transformers, or machinery can result in particles becoming airborne, posing a risk to workers' eyes.
Chemical Exposure: Certain maintenance tasks or emergencies may expose workers to harmful chemicals that could cause eye injuries.
Arc Flashes: In the electric utility industry, arc flashes represent a significant hazard. These intense, sudden bursts of light and heat can lead to serious eye injuries.
UV Radiation: APS workers often work outdoors, where they are exposed to UV rays from the sun. Prolonged exposure can cause damage to the eyes.
OSHA Requirements for Safety Glasses
According to OSHA’s Standard 1910.133, APS workers, like all other workers exposed to potential eye hazards, should use eye and face protection. Here’s what OSHA specifies:
General Requirements: Safety glasses must meet the ANSI Z87.1 standards, meaning they should be impact-resistant and provide protection from the front and sides.
Prescription Safety Glasses: If employees require prescription lenses, the employer must provide prescription safety glasses that also meet ANSI Z87.1 standards.
Specialty Safety Glasses for APS Workers
Given the nature of their work, APS workers may require additional protection:
Arc Flash Protection Glasses: These glasses are designed to protect the eyes from the intense light and heat produced by an arc flash.
UV Protection Glasses: Given their frequent exposure to sunlight, APS workers could benefit from safety glasses that offer UV protection.
Proper Use and Care for Safety Glasses
Proper care and use of safety glasses are crucial in maintaining the longevity and effectiveness of the glasses. APS workers should ensure a proper fit, clean the glasses regularly, store them in a safe place, and regularly inspect them for damages.
Employer Responsibilities at APS
APS, as the largest electric utility in Arizona, has a significant responsibility to protect its workers. The company should provide proper safety glasses, ensure employees are trained in their use and maintenance, and conduct regular inspections to ensure the glasses are in good working condition.
For APS workers, understanding and adhering to OSHA's requirements for safety glasses is an essential part of maintaining a safe work environment. These measures ensure that they are well-protected against the specific hazards they face in their line of work. It's not just about meeting regulatory standards – it’s about fostering a safe and productive work environment where employees can perform their duties without risking their eye health.