On average, 2,000 people suffer eye injuries every day in the United States. Around one-third of those injuries require emergency room care. That is a very frightening statistic for all workers.
Eye injuries can have several consequences for a worker. Obviously, these injuries are incredibly painful. But they also carry the potential to be debilitating in many other ways. Eye injuries can result in costly medical treatment. They can limit our ability to perform daily tasks. They can also curb our work capacity and lead to time off work, which can also prove to be very expensive.
Between 10 to 20 percent of workplace injuries will result in either temporary or total blindness. Every year, over 700,000 workers suffer eye injuries on the job. However, up to 90 percent of those injuries are entirely preventable.
Workplace Eye Wellness Month is an initiative that seeks to increase awareness of this important topic. March is designated as a time that workers and employers can look for ways to improve workplace safety and avoid the occurrence of eye injuries.
How Eye Injuries Happen
Eye injuries can occur in any sector to any type of worker. For example, an office worker who stares at a computer screen for eight hours every day can suffer from severe headaches and eye strain. The most serious eye injuries are due to small particles or objects striking or scraping the eye, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These objects and particles include dust, cement chips, metals and wood chips.
If the eye is penetrated by a nail, staple or other sharp object, workers are more likely to suffer blindness from an eye injury. Chemical and thermal burns also cause several eye injuries every year. These injuries are often caused by exposure to industrial chemicals or cleaning products.
Tips for Avoiding Eye Injuries
- Make sure that all workers are given eyewear that is appropriate for the work they do. For example, welders, cleaners, and industrial workers should wear protective goggles, guards or face masks at all times.
- When choosing the appropriate eyewear, make sure that it fits the worker properly.
- Workers in the healthcare industry should wear protective eyewear to prevent the spread of infectious disease.
- For workers who stare at computer screens all day, make sure to take regular breaks and keep your eyes at least 30 inches away from the screen.
- Employers should consider implementing regular screenings and eye tests for all employees. This will pre-empt injuries and promote eye wellness in the workplace.
- Make sure that your workplace is equipped with first-aid equipment and that all workers are trained in first-aid protocol.
Remember that all workplace injuries, including eye injuries, are more easily prevented than they are treated. By enacting proper safety procedures, you can avoid the occurrence of serious eye injuries in your workplace. March is the perfect opportunity to make that happen.
If you have suffered a workplace eye injury, contact Guajardo & Marks to learn more about your options. We offer free consultations and earn no fee unless we win your case.