The human eye is an incredibly vulnerable part of the body. Because of their tendency to get injured, more than 20,000 workplace eye injuries happen each year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Likewise, workplace eye injuries cost about $300 million a year in lost productivity, workers’ compensation costs, and medical treatments. Here are the most common causes of eye injury and how to prevent them in the workplace.
Uncorrected Vision Problems
Uncorrected vision can be a huge issue in the workplace. If a worker is unaware of a vision flaw, he or she may not get the corrective lenses needed to function effectively in a workplace environment. For example, if someone requires corrective lenses, but is driving a vehicle, he or she is more likely to get into a workplace vehicle accident. Alternatively, a worker who is nearsighted and doesn’t have corrective lenses might lean in closer to his or her work to see what he or she is doing, which could result in an eye injury. The best way to avoid mishaps involving uncorrected vision is to undergo regular vision testing. Employees who do not have vision insurance through their employer can purchase it on their own for a small monthly fee. Employers who have the means to offer vision insurance should provide it for their employees.
Masonry or Carpentry Work
Construction workers have one of the highest rates of eye injuries in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The biggest reason for this hazard is the exposure to dust, wood chips, slag, and other particles in the air. Carpenters are also exposed to materials requiring sanding, grinding, hammering, and cutting, all of which release airborne particulates into the air. Protective eyewear is essential to wear for all people who might be exposed to these particles.
Welding can be particularly dangerous. While the welder himself or herself will have protective eyewear on, other people passing by might be exposed to high levels of UV radiation and flying sparks, both of which can severely damage the eye. Bystanders, assistants, and supervisors should all wear appropriate eyewear if someone is welding.
Eyes are susceptible to changes in the environment. For workers exposed to industrial chemicals or cleaning products, they are at risk of sustaining chemical burns on their eyes and surrounding tissues. This type of injury can occur if the person working doesn’t wear protective eyewear or the chemical is accidentally splashed onto his or her face. All workers should be aware of what to do if they are exposed to hazardous chemicals. Not all chemical exposures require eyewash, and in some cases, trying to wash the eye may do more harm than good. All workers should know where the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) sheets are located and how to read them. Likewise, an MSDS information binder should be readily accessible to all employees.
If your eyes have been injured in a workplace accident, make sure to talk to one of our skilled Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys as soon as possible. Leonard Law Group has represented hundreds of employees in workers’ comp cases and has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for medical bills and lost wages. Let us see what we can do for you.
Contact us at (312) 487-2513 or fill out our online form to schedule a case consultation with us today.