Every day in America, approximately 2,000 workers injure one or both eyes while on the job and require treatment. Nearly a third of those injured will be taken to the Emergency Room, and over 100 of these eye injuries cause one or more days off of work as a result.
Most eye injuries occur when small objects or particles abrade or strike the surface of the eye. They may include:
- Wood chips
- Cement specks
- Slivers of metal
- Dust particles
These foreign objects often are carried on the wind, get ejected from power tools and fall down from workers above. If they penetrate the eye, permanent blindness can result.
Eye injuries can also occur if blunt force trauma to the eye results from a large object striking a worker in the face. Chemicals splashing up into the eyes can cause blindness that may be temporary or permanent.
Welders are particularly at risk for thermal burn from UV radiation, known as “welder’s flash.”
The common denominator in preventing these serious eye injuries is use of eye protection like safety glasses, goggles and face shields while working. Supervisors and safety men/women on the job site must insist that workers comply with eye protection regulations in order to ensure workers’ safety.
Different versions of eye protection must be used dependent upon the hazards a worker faces. All protective eye gear should be adjustable to fit a worker and adequately protect the eyes while still allowing peripheral vision.
If you suffered an eye injury while working on a construction site or other job, you may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation or other benefits or settlements. Seeking legal advice for your particular situation is a good idea if your vision has been compromised in an at-work accident.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Eye Safety,” accessed Aug. 26, 2015