Covid-19 Eye Protection Guidelines
The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development have added additional personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements within the workplace. Workers are now required to wear both an appropriate face covering (preferably surgical/medical mask) and eye protection at all times when the worker comes within 2 metres of another individual (indoors and outdoors).
Eye protection is not required if other controls are in place, such as keeping a 2 metre distance or having an impermeable barrier (i.e., plexiglass) between the workers. If an employee does not wear an appropriate face covering and eye protection and comes into contact with a case of COVID-19 while at the workplace, they will be deemed a high-risk contact and will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.When selecting eye protection for the workplace, consider the following criteria:
- Eye protection fits properly and does not interfere with the proper fit of a worker’s mask.
- Eye protection must be used in conjunction with a mask/face covering
- Eye protection is either single use disposable or able to be cleaned, disinfected and reused
- Eye protection must provide a barrier to splashes from the side
- The type of work/activity, when selecting eye protection as PPE
If you wear prescription glasses, use a face shield or goggles that fit snuggly over the eyeglasses. Conversion kits would not make the eyewear compliant to be used as PPE within a workplace. In addition, cleaning and disinfection products for reusable PPE may damage prescription glasses.
Cleaning Protective Eyewear:
1. All eye protection must be cleaned and disinfected between uses. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfecting of eye protection, if available.
2. Use Health Canada approved disinfectant wipes.
3. Perform hand hygiene prior to removing eye protection
4. When removing eye protection, reach up behind head or side of head; do not touch the front of contaminated eye protection
5. Using a Health Canada approved disinfectant wipe in one hand, carefully wipe the inside surface of eye protection. Discard wipe.
6. Still holding eye protection in the same hand, use the other hand and take a second Health Canada approved disinfectant wipe, and wipe the outside surface of the eye protection. Discard wipe.
7. Place clean eye protection on clean surface.
8. Perform hand hygiene.
9. If visibility is compromised by residual disinfectant, eye protection can be rinsed with tap water.
10.Allow eye protection to dry prior to next use.
11.Store in a designated clean area in a manner to prevent contamination (e.g. labelled paper or plastic bag.)
12. Discard eye protection if damaged and/or it becomes difficult to see through .
* information from Region of Waterloo Public Heath and Emergency Services and Southwestern Public Health documents