The month of October is Eye Injury Prevention Month, and The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., is proud to play a part in spreading the word on ways to prevent eye injuries in the workplace.
As a law firm that’s recovered millions for victims injured in the workplace, we know work-related vision loss can be devastating. To help you protect one of your most valuable senses, we have put together some important information on Eye Injury Prevention Month and ways to stay safe on the job.
What is Eye Injury Prevention Month?
Eye Injury Prevention Month is held each year in October and is sponsored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. It raises awareness about eye injuries in the workplace, the devastating consequences of vision impairment and the fact that as many as half of all eye injuries can be prevented.
In addition, the campaign also rallies support among workplace safety advocates, vision specialists and public health agencies to educate the public about effective eye injury prevention methods.
Workplace Eye Injury Statistics
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 2,000 Americans suffer eye injuries at work each day. Because even minor eye injuries can cause life-long vision problems, thousands of workers suffer disabilities each year related to visual disturbances, visual field loss, reduced depth perception and other forms of vision loss.
While eye injuries can happen in nearly every profession, they are most common in construction and trade industries where workers face numerous risks in the course of performing their jobs.
Eye injuries on construction sites, for instance, can be caused by a variety of hazards. Some of the most common include:
- Striking and scraping: Most work-related eye injuries are caused by tiny fragments and particles striking or scraping the eye, including splinters or wood chips, masonry, cut wire ends, dust, metal fragments and other worksite debris. These materials may be falling objects from workers above, blown across worksites by wind, the use of heavy equipment or dispersed by machinery, tools, and pneumatics used for cutting, grinding and other tasks.
- Blunt force trauma: Some eye injuries may be caused by larger objects striking the eye or face, falls from heights, worksite slips, trips and falls or worksite auto accidents. These forms of trauma can damage the eye and eye socket or result in work-related brain injuries that affect a worker’s vision.
- Penetration injuries: Certain types of objects pose risks of penetration injuries, which can pierce the eye and cause severe and permanent vision loss. Cut wire ends, nails, staples and slivers of wood or metal are common causes of penetration injuries involving the eyes.
- Thermal and chemical burns: Workers exposed to industrial chemicals, cleaning products, and toxic substances can suffer chemical burns to the eye. Thermal burns, which commonly result from UV exposure created by arcs and flashes (welding accidents) or by explosions and fires, may also damage the eyes and surrounding tissues.
- Eye disease: Eye injuries and vision loss may also be caused by occupational diseases resulting from exposure to certain substances (i.e., viruses, blood, or contaminated objects) and prolonged exposure to contaminants.
Tips to Avoid Eye Injuries
- Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when working with or near hazards.
- Use proper fitting goggles, face shields, safety glasses, welding helmets and full-face respirators.
- Choose the right eye protection for your specific work situation and hazard.
- Ensure all eye and face coverings provide adequate protection and fit snugly without limiting your vision.
- Be aware of any nearby work or hazards that may pose eye injuries, even if you are simply walking through an area.
- Implement engineering controls such as machine guarding to prevent the escape of particles and welding curtains to protect against arc flashes.
- Utilize administrative controls, such as limiting access to certain areas or creating walkways to keep workers out of active work zones.
- Conduct thorough hazard assessments to determine eye-related hazards.
- Provide proper PPE and eye / face protection to workers based on specific hazards.
- Ensure all eye and face protection meet applicable regulations and Eye and Face Protection Standards.
Your Rights After a Workplace Accident
Employers, subcontractors, property owners, and product manufacturers all play crucial roles in promoting safe workplaces and safe work practices. They can potentially be held liable when workers suffer injuries in preventable workplace accidents.
At The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., we leverage decades of experience to help workers and families explore their options for recovering needed compensation – whether through claims filed with an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance or civil personal injury lawsuits filed against negligent parties, including employers who violate the Labor Law or fail to provide PPE, manufacturers of faulty safety equipment or defective products, and negligent property owners who fail to address hazards on their premises.
Since 1983, our firm has recovered millions in compensation for victims injured in construction accidents and other work-related accidents. If you have questions about your rights after being hurt on the job, call or contact us online for a free consultation.