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Eye Injuries in the Workplace

Posted By Arnold & Itkin || 25-Sep-2014

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), around 2,000 workers in the U.S. receive eye injuries each day.

The majority of eye injuries are caused by flying debris, including wood chips, sparks, and small particles of metal, with the U.S. Department of Labor estimating that these make up 70% of eye injuries. About 20% of eye damage is caused by contact with harmful chemicals, from cleaning solutions to hydrochloric acid.

Workplace eye injuries can vary greatly, but commonly include:

  • Blindness
  • Burns
  • Corneal abrasions
  • Decreased visibility
  • Hyphemas, bleeding in the space between the cornea and the iris
  • Muscle damage
  • Retinal damage
  • Subconjunctival hemorrhaging, which is bleeding in the white of the eye
  • Swollen eyes or eyelids
  • Traumatic iritis, in which a blow to the eye causes inflammation of the colored part of the eye

Over 40% of workplace eye injuries were inflicted on craft workers, like carpenters, industrial workers, plumbers, and construction workers, although eye damages do occur in every industry.

Precautions to Avoid Eye Injuries

The vast majority of eye injuries can be avoided by wearing proper protective gear. This includes safety goggles, which provide much more thorough protection than just glasses by enclosing all entry points to the eyes. Face shields can further protect the eyes, as well as the face from harmful debris or chemicals. Welders and nearby workers should also take precautions to protect against ultraviolet (UV) burns (also known as welder's flash). Different kinds of soldering and welding will require darker tints to protect the eyes.

Protective equipment is only effective if it is used properly and maintained consistently. To provide adequate protection, industries such as construction require that goggles be marked with the Z87 or Z87+ grade. Enforcement of policies regarding the constant use of goggles and other safety gear will ensure that lapses do not occur. Training employees on the importance of equipment and how to ensure that it is being worn properly can also maximize its effectiveness.

It is also important to keep medical equipment on site to quickly treat any workplace eye injuries that may occur. An eyewash station will help workers to quickly wash out harmful chemical or particles, while a basic first-aid kit will provide bandages, swabs, and other useful items than can reduce damage in case of an incident.

If you have suffered a serious eye injury while on the job, you need to know your legal rights. Our industrial injury attorneys have helped injured workers recover over $1 billion in 5 years. Contact us today for a free case evaluation to learn how Arnold & Itkin can help you get compensated for your injury.

Client's portion of total recovery may be subject to Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement claims, Medicare/Medicaid liens or other third-party claims or liens. These verdicts and settlements are intended to be representative of cases handled by Arnold & Itkin, LLP. These listings are not a guarantee or prediction of the outcome of any other claims.

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