Eye Injuries at Work

Woman wearing protective goggles

Eye injuries are one of the most severe types of workplace injuries. In an instant, a worker can suffer severe damage to their eye that causes temporary or permanent blindness. Some workers are at higher-than-average risk of suffering an on-the-job eye injury due to the nature of their work, too.

Occupations and industries that might put a worker at risk of an eye injury include:

  • Construction: The construction industry is associated with many workplace hazards, from scaffolding accidents to eye injuries. Masonry and carpentry work at construction sites are particularly risky when it comes to eye injuries due to small splinters of wood and stone flying into the air as work is done. Construction workers should always wear goggles when working or near an active worksite.
  • Machining: Industrial machining jobs place the workers alongside heavy equipment all day. Many of those machines that make their work easier also make it riskier, such as boring machines that drill straight through sheets of metal. It is impossible to know when a tiny sliver of metal will be flung from a machine, so constant eye protection is a must.
  • Welding: Not only does welding introduce the risk of small flying objects and splinters that can cause direct eye damage, but it also risks blindness through intensely bright lights. Looking at an arc welder without the proper eye protection can cause permanent cornea damage in a second.
  • Chemical handling: Any job that involves the handling of caustic chemicals and dangerous substances can be a job that puts the worker at risk of eye damage. Splashing chemicals can cause blindness, but even exposure to chemical fumes in the air can burn the outer layer of the eye.

Employers should provide workers with proper eye protection or, at the least, bar any worker entry to a jobsite unless they have the proper eye protection. Failing to do so can spike the risk of an eye injury being suffered by a worker.

Workers’ Comp & Disability Pay for Eye Injuries

If a worker suffers an eye injury, no matter how mild or severe, and it happens in the scope of their employment, then they should be able to file for workers’ compensation. As a no-fault insurance system, the worker should be provided the benefits of workers’ comp without having to prove that any party was liable – or that they were not liable.

Furthermore, eye injuries tend to be permanent. As such, a worker who suffers an eye injury might be eligible for long-term disability benefits or LTD benefits. At first, the worker will need to qualify for temporary disability benefits that are provided through workers’ compensation plans, though. While the worker recovers from their eye injury, temporary disability benefits will pay for two-thirds of their usual weekly wages. If the eye injury is diagnosed as permanent and causes a permanent disability, then the worker can look into getting LTD benefits that can last for years and years, up to retirement or death in some cases. The amount of weekly compensation given will depend on the extent and type of disability.

Understanding your options and taking legal action after suffering an eye injury at work can be a convoluted and confusing process if you aren’t familiar with the wrinkles in the law. If you need help and live in Chicago or Cook County, Illinois, then you can come to Leonard Law Group for assistance. Contact our attorneys now to ask about making an eye injury workers’ comp claim.

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