March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month. Did you know that on-the-job accidents account for about half of all eye injuries in the U.S.?
Since workplace eye injuries can cause permanent vision loss or blindness, the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) has very strict guidelines regarding eye protection. Workers must be provided eye and face protection when exposed to flying objects, caustic substances, acids, liquid chemicals, chemical gases or vapors, molten metal, or radiation. However, each day more than 1,000 Americans still suffer a workplace eye injury.
The problem is that many workers aren’t provided with the correct eye protection or the training to recognize eye hazards. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 60 percent of workers who sustain on-the-job eye injuries are either not wearing eye protection or wearing the wrong type of eye protection at the time of injury.
Causes of Eye Injuries in the Workplace
- Radiation (welding torch radiation, lasers, ultra violet light, heat)
- Projectiles (sawdust, metal shavings, glass, dust or other small particles)
- Falling objects
- Biological contaminants or medical waste
- Unavailability of eye protection
- Wearing the wrong type of eye protection
In some workplaces, there is a very high risk of eye injury. Electrical workers, construction workers, welders, carpenters, mechanics, chemists, and dentists routinely take precautions to prevent eye injury. But, eye injuries can occur in any California workplace—even office workers and teachers are at risk.
Get Immediate Treatment If You Incur These Symptoms
- Blood in the clear part of your eye
- Uneven or irregular pupils
- Sudden, severe pain in one or both eyes
- Loss of vision or difficulty seeing in one or both eyes
- One eye moves differently than the other
- One eye protrudes
- An abnormal change in the shape of the eye
- A cut or tear on the eyelid
- An object in the eye or under the eyelid that is not easily removed
When a California workplace eye injury causes permanent vision loss, the worker may not be able to return to his job. Workers’ compensation benefits can help the employee for part of his lost wages and for any occupational training he needs to return to work. Learn more about California workers’ compensation and how to protect your rights in our book, Don't Lose Your Case: A Guide to Avoiding the Dumb Mistakes Ordinary People Make That Ruin Their Personal Injury Case. Use the link to request your free copy.