Eye Injury, Umbrellas and Risk Management

Posted by: West Georgia Eye Care Center in Frontpage Article on June 21, 2018

Risk managers dedicate their careers to finding and reducing the risk of injury. Parents of small children do the same thing in their homes: from electrical outlets to steep stairs they assess the risks and remove them or create barriers. Medical professionals do the same thing in their workplace and during the performance of patient care; always evaluating in order to minimize risk(s).

At West Georgia Eye Care Center (WGECC) we hold regular risk management training for all employees, with the most recent ocurring this past Friday. Two training sessions were presented by Stericycle, a global company that specializes in minimizing risks through the correct management and disposal of substances. Those substances can be as common as a tongue depressor or as complex as radioactive materials. At WGECC we are diligent to follow the safety recommendations from Stericycle and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

As comprehensive as all of us try to be to reduce risks, there is no way to completely eliminate all risks in life. This blogger spent the better part of Sunday at the ER with an injury from an umbrella. A spring mechanism umbrella opened unexpectedly and thrust the handle end into my upper jaw and nose. The result was a laceration and deep bruising. These types of umbrellas are a part of everyday life, and on investigation we found that a patent exists for the mechanism that locks the spring into closure. A physics student with a similar facial injury blogged on the significant force required to close this style of umbrella. You can read his interesting findings here: http://sci.waikato.ac.nz/physicsstop/2015/11/attacked-by-an-umbrella.shtml    Of course, this blogger did not need a physics major to tell her about the force in a spring mechanism umbrella but hopes this will help someone be alert to the risks!

Unfortunately, we also found reported eye injuries from spring mechanism umbrellas. West Georgia Eye Care Center believes in taking measures to minimize the risks of eye injury to our patients and friends! The force applied from the handle of a released spring mechanism on an umbrella is definitely enough impact to cause serious eye damage. So….be alert when using any device that has the potential to hit the eye with force!!  This summer, please remember to practice eye safety: wear safety specs or goggles when you operate machinery such as a lawn mower or weed eater, and be careful! (Even just opening your umbrella!)