Eye protection is an essential piece of personal protection equipment (PPE) for anyone, professional or DIYer, undertaking cleanup of a bird-related mess. During the cleanup process, nesting materials and bird droppings are thoroughly removed and then the area is scrubbed and disinfected.
It’s not unusual at all for loose debris to fly around as power washers and other tools are employed to remove the mess and install control devices; in fact, it’s to be expected, which is why eye protection is absolutely critical. Let’s take a closer look at why eye protection is necessary, what types of protection are recommended, and how to stay up to date on the latest safety recommendations.
Why Is eye protection necessary?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that roughly 2,000 work-related eye injuries occur every day in the United States. That’s the equivalent of over 700,000 injuries every year. Carpenters, welders, and mechanics are some of the jobs most at risk for eye injuries, but pest control technicians are also at the top of the list. Pest control technicians, including bird control professionals, often work in enclosed spaces and come in regular contact with dust and contaminated water or disinfectants that splash against surfaces, kick back, and drift in the breeze. In addition, the heavy equipment used to mount some bird control devices can expose installers to flying debris. In any of these situations, suspended particulates can easily enter eyes and cause potentially serious injuries. Wearing eye protection is a fool proof way to prevent these kinds of injuries.
What can happen to your eyes without the proper protection?
Wearing the right eye PPE will protect your eyes from the following:
Striking or Scraping
- Many eye injuries are the result of small objects or particles hitting or scraping the surface of the eye. When bits of materials such as dust, metal, wood, or concrete are sent airborne by tools or pressurized water, they can easily strike the eye and cause damage. Occasionally, larger items like rocks or sticks can also be kicked up and cause blunt force trauma to the eye.
- In extreme cases, these airborne particles and objects hit the eye with such force that they actually penetrate the eyeball. These injuries can result in permanent vision loss.
- Thermal and chemical burns are another common source of eye injury. In the case of bird control specialists, cleaning and sanitization products used to treat bird infestation sites can blow back and cause damage to the eyes and surrounding tissue.
- Many diseases can be spread through the mucous membranes of the eye. Birds and their droppings can carry over 60 different communicable diseases. Workers cleaning up bird droppings and nesting materials risk exposure to these diseases through their eyes either via airborne particulates or by touching their eyes with contaminated fingers and hands. The result can be anything from minor irritation and redness all the way to serious, life-threatening illness.
How can you prevent eye injuries?
The good news is that the chances of these eye injuries occurring can be drastically reduced by the use of correct personal protective eyewear. When you pack eye protection in your PPE kit and faithfully use it, you can rest easy knowing your eyes are protected from injury and disease.
The eye protection you choose depends on the nature of the hazards and the conditions you will be working in. Here’s a brief look at the four categories of eye gear that are recommended by OSHA as protection against impact hazards regularly faced by bird control technicians:
Safety glasses or spectacles are a primary form of eye protection, meaning that on their own, they provide sufficient protection. These protective glasses will shield your eyes from flying fragments and objects as well as small airborne particulates as long as they are equipped with side shields.
You can find standard safety glasses or have them fitted with corrective lenses if needed. Safety glasses do not fit snugly to the face but feature spatula or headband frames to hold them in place.
Safety goggles are another primary form of protection. These devices fit snugly to the face and provide a protective seal around the eyes as well as a shield against flying fragments and particulates. Standard and corrective lenses are available for safety goggles as well. Some safety goggles will fit comfortably over regular glasses, providing essential protection while also accommodating corrective lenses.
You can also find ventilated safety goggles that will not fog while in use; check manufacturer recommendations to make certain the ventilation features will not compromise protection.
Face shields are a secondary form of protection. When used in conjunction with safety glasses or goggles, face shields add additional impact protection for most of the face. By themselves, face shields will not provide sufficient protection from the hazards of bird cleanup, but they do provide a valuable supplementary defense.
Face shields are constructed from different transparent materials and are available in a variety of thicknesses. You can also select different windows or headgears to get a shield that is comfortable for you and meets your needs.
Sanitize or Dispose Contaminated Equipment
Regardless of which eye protection you choose, at the end of the job, you should always assume that your PPE is contaminated and follow all the protocols associated with cleaning or disposing of contaminated equipment. This is a critical step that will help keep you and your team safe.
How can you stay up to date on the latest safety information?
Bird B Gone is committed to keeping our installers up to date on the latest safety information. Check our website regularly for important safety materials or call to talk to our bird control specialists. The following are some basic safety guidelines:
- When operating power tools, make certain to follow all safety recommendations from the manufacturer. We recommend incorporating these safety checks into the planning phase of every bird control project.
- Take advantage of online safety training and certification courses offered by the manufacture. For example, Hilti Academy offers a variety of options for their line of tools.
- Always plan to wear eye protection when operating tools such as power drills, powder actuated tools, nail guns, and pneumatic tools.
- Always wear eye protection and proper protective equipment when removing nesting materials, cleaning bird droppings, and installing bird control products.
The Importance of Eye Protection
The importance of adequate eye protection while on a bird control job cannot be overstated. The hazards are simply too serious to ignore. Protect the health of your eyes with professional PPE. Contact Bird B Gone today for more information about how to stay safe while tackling bird control projects.