Saturday 20 January 2018

Sponsored Feature: Are you protecting your eyes at work?

Construction worker
Construction worker

Are you aware that you may be entitled to free eyecare, by law? Firms must comply with existing legislation relating to eyes in the workplace.

Any employee that uses a computer screen or requires safety eyewear to carry out their job properly should benefit from a prescribed level of eyecare, courtesy of their employer.

Specsavers runs a corporate scheme which provides cost-effective solutions for businesses to meet these obligations.

An eye examination and a pair of glasses can be provided for as little as €25 per person.

Some 1.2 million employees in Ireland and the UK are already covered by Specsavers Corporate Eyecare policies.

The system is based on vouchers which is both simple for employers and staff to administer.

With a choice of 39 stores throughout Ireland to deliver the service, it could not be easier.

Glasses for driving

Every road user has a part to play in ensuring they are kept as safe as possible and businesses are no exception.

It is estimated that a third (33%) of road collisions, equalling 1,000 deaths and 13,000 serious injuries a year, involve people driving during the course of their work.

Any fatalities can have serious repercussions for companies under the Corporate Manslaughter Act and implicated drivers found to have substandard vision could be liable.

Eyecare provision for fleet drivers can also have far-reaching positive implications.

A number of Specsavers Corporate Eyecare clients have found their insurance premiums have gone down as a result.

Glasses for screen use

Protecting employees’ eyesight against prolonged computer screen use is not only a legal requirement, it also makes good business sense.

Despite this, Specsavers research has revealed that 73% of companies are not complying with the law*.

Regulations made under Part VII of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (general applications) Act 1993, requires employers to provide all staff that use screens with eye tests, when requested, and glasses, if required.

However, there is no obligation to provide contact lenses, bifocal or varifocal glasses.

Similarly, anti-glare screens, VDU spectacles or any other devices that claim to protect the eyes are also not covered.

Safety eyewear

Requirements for safety eyewear in the workplace also fall under the 1993 Act.

The eyes and eyesight are particularly vulnerable to hazards in the workplace.

Each different working environment presents its own unique risks and requirements, so the starting point for any provision of safety eyewear must be a thorough health and safety audit and risk assessment by the employer.

If you feel you need safety eyewear to carry out your work, which is not currently being provided, you should address the issue with your line manager or representative in human resources.

*Findings from Specsavers study into corporate eyecare provision during October 2009, which surveyed 187 companies representing up to 448,629 employees.

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