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3 Eye Safety Tips For EMS Providers

NIOSH Eye Protection Training Toolkit

Nearly 2000 eye injuries occur everyday in the United States. EMS providers are at risk of eye injury from blood and other body fluids, fine and large particulates, splashes from liquid medications and other chemicals, and other forms of trauma. According to NIOSH even minor eye injuries can lead to lifelong vision problems.

To prevent eye injury use these Everyday EMS Tips on every call:

  1. Assess for eye hazards like dust, liquid chemicals, blood and other body fluids, particulates, confined or enclosed spaces, and violent patients during the scene size-up
  2. Always have protective eyewear easily accessible. I wear my ANZI Z87 compliant eye glasses around my neck so they are always accessible.
  3. Wear protective eyewear during patient procedures that are likely to cause release or splash of blood or other potential infectious materials. Those procedures include IV access, wound care, airway insertion, suctioning, and medication administration.

Depending on the scene size-up and your local protocols select appropriate protective eyewear:

– Safety glasses
– Prescription safety glasses
– Goggles
– Hybrid safety glasses
– Face shields
– Full face respirators

Learn more about workplace eye safety and find training resources from the NIOSH Eye Safety Tool Box Talk – Instructor’s Guide.

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.