The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than 20,000 occupational eye injuries happen each year. These injuries take a huge economic toll on companies and more importantly, cause victims significant emotional and physical pain. The good news is that many of these injuries are preventable.
Types and Causes of Eye Injuries
Some injuries to the eye, such as strain, are temporary and easy to treat while other eye injuries can be more serious. Ten to twenty percent of work-related eye injuries cause irreparable damage – including permanent vision loss. Worker eye injuries are often caused by flying debris and particles such as pieces of glass or metal. Impact with a foreign object can scratch the cornea or transparent layer on the front of the eye. If a scratch or other injury is left untreated, painful sores or corneal ulcers can develop.
Blunt force trauma to the eye can cause bleeding between the cornea and the iris. This is called hyphema, and requires immediate medical attention to save the victim’s vision. Small objects can penetrate the eye requiring emergency medical treatment. All employees should undergo safety training on how to address eye injuries for themselves and coworkers.
Protection from Work Eye Injuries
The health and safety advocacy organization, Preventing Blindness, recommends three simple steps to prevent eye injuries on the job.
Every employee should complete an eye hazard assessment for potential dangers before beginning work.
Workers should use guards, screens, or other safety equipment designed to prevent debris from becoming airborne.
Workers should always wear eye protection. Experts estimate that 90 percent of work-related eye injuries could have been less serious, or prevented altogether with the use of eye protection.
Depending upon the job, eye protection could include safety glasses, goggles, helmets, or face shields. When there is a risk of chemical exposure, workers should use full-face respirators.
Glasses, goggles, and screens vary in weight and use. Wearing the wrong type of protection for the job at hand will not prevent injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides extensive guidelines about what types of eye protection should be worn for certain jobs. Every employer should require eye protection that complies with OSHA regulations. Eye protection should also be approved by the American National Standards Institute.
If you or a loved one has been treated for a work-related eye injury, it is important to properly file a Workers’ Compensation claim to ensure your medical and financial needs are met. Always notify your employer in writing of your work accident and document your injury with photographs, medical records, and witness accounts.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Gross Represent Workers with Eye Injuries
Jeffrey S. Gross, and his team of highly-experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyers are your best ally in successfully proving your Workers’ Compensation claim. You can schedule a free consultation with a Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer by calling 267-589-0090 or 215-512-1500, or by submitting the online contact form. The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Gross serves residents in the greater Philadelphia area.