At our safety meetings twice a month, eye protection is talked about quite a bit. I maintain a full array of safety glasses as many are needed to suit the comfort of individual employees. I learned a long time ago that if you want employees to use safety equipment, it needs to be readily available and it has to be comfortable. That goes for safety glasses, hearing protection, fall protection, etc.

Over the weekend I was at my cabin doing some fall chores that involved sealing up gaps and cracks in siding. I used our professional model foam injector. When finished with the tool I cleaned it out with the pressurized solvent cleaner. However, I made one big mistake…I neglected to release the nozzle pressure when I removed the canister of solvent from the injector apparatus. This resulted in a “blow back” of cleaning solvent into my face and eyes.

I knew that I needed to flush my eyes with water immediately and did that for several minutes.

They still burned so Ellen and I made a trip into town. The eye doctor had just left his office, but his staff called him on his cell phone and he returned. He determined that I did not do any damage to my corneas and prescribed an anti-inflamation prescription drug.

After all this I really felt warn down and shaken….but really, really dumb. Like many work-related accidents, this one could have been prevented. I knew better than to release the solvent under pressure. And I should have been wearing the safety goggles in the tool case that would have given me full eye protection.

I’m thankful there was no permanent eye damage. I am also thankful for the attention of the medical community and having a drug store in the little town by our cabin.

This whole event remids me how important it is to use safety equipment….and also to think through all steps of construction operations, keeping mentally alert for gaps in safety procedures. My workers do this every day…..the “boss” needs to do it, too.