When it comes to protecting your eyesight, don’t take any shortcuts. At least that is what Baptista learned after a trip to the emergency room due to chemical exposure in his eyes.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is crucial when working with chemicals. There is a huge potential for injury and CVA grower Zemua Baptista knows this well.
In addition to crops, Baptista raises poultry. When cleaning barns between flocks, he failed to wear his goggles while sanitizing with a bleach/water spray. The mist got into his eyes and caused a burning sensation and blurriness. It was then he realized what had happened. He was only in the barns for a few minutes and the mist had gotten into his eyes in that short period of time. “I didn’t believe that I could be injured in the two minutes I was in the barn with the chemical,” said Baptista.
After realizing that rinsing his eyes at home wasn’t enough, he asked a friend to take him to the emergency room. At the emergency room, the doctor flushed his eyes with a saline liquid to ensure the chemicals were rinsed out. It took about two hours of periodically flushing his eyes for the levels of chemicals to be low enough to be released. A t wo-minute demonstration caused Baptista a trip to the ER, a hospital bill, and two hours out of his evening.
PPE is crucial to chemical safety as problems can happen within a second. If Baptista had been wearing goggles, he could have avoided an unenjoyable evening and potential blindness. “I thought I would be okay to demonstrate the sprayer for those few moments, but I realized quickly how important PPE is no matter how long you are working with
chemicals,” said Baptista.
Every chemical label has warnings and required PPE for using the chemical. “The PPE requirements for chemicals are not a suggestion. PPE is an absolute must when working with chemicals,” said Doug Eisenmenger, Safety and Compliance Director for CVA , “the safety of the individual is always first priority which is why PPE is so important.”
Always remember to wear the proper protection when working with chemicals no matter how long you are around them. As Baptista found out, no time is too short to avoid the impact of chemicals on the body.