October is National Protect Your Hearing Month and National Eye Injury Prevention Month!
As a firm that’s fought for victims of workplace and construction accidents since 1983, our team at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., knows hearing and vision injuries can create a lifetime of challenges. That’s why we’re proud to spread the word about protecting two of your most vital senses.
- Eye Injury Prevention Month is held every year in October to raise awareness about eye injuries in the workplace, the devastating consequences of vision impairment, and the fact that many eye injuries can be prevented.
- National Protect Your Hearing Month is another October initiative that focuses on raising awareness about noise-induced hearing loss and sharing simple steps people can take to protect their hearing, especially in the workplace.
Key Facts About Hearing & Eye Injuries
Knowing the facts can help you better understand the risks you or your loved one face on the job, as well as the steps you can take to prevent permanent deficits and disabilities.
Exposure to loud noise can cause permanent hearing loss, which makes it no surprise that workers in construction and heavy industry experience the highest rates of hearing problems. According to the CDC and BLS:
- Hearing loss is the most common work-related injury in the U.S.
- Nearly 76% of the 14,500 work-related hearing loss cases among private industry workers in 2019 occurred in the manufacturing industry.
- 1 in 4 tested construction workers have a material hearing impairment.
- Unaddressed hearing loss can have far-reaching consequences, including higher injury risks and cognitive decline.
Eye injuries can happen in nearly every profession, but they’re especially common in construction and trade industries where workers face significant risks in the course of performing their jobs. According to the CDC:
- Every day, roughly 2,000 U.S. workers suffer an eye injury that requires medical treatment.
- About one-third of work-related eye injuries require treatment in the ER, and more than 100 of these injuries result in one or more days away from work.
- Proper eye protection can prevent up to 90% of all eye injuries.
Common Hearing & Eye Injury Hazards on Construction Sites
Workers in construction and trade industries face numerous hazards that threaten their vision and hearing. Common causes of hearing loss and eye injuries on construction sites include:
- Striking and scraping: Most eye injuries are caused by tiny particles striking or scraping the eye, including splinters or wood chips, masonry, cut wire ends, dust, worksite debris, falling objects, and fragments dispersed by machinery.
- Blunt force trauma: Some eye injuries can be caused by falls from heights, worksite slips, trips and falls, worksite auto accidents, and other forms of trauma that damage the eye or result in work-related brain injuries.
- Penetration injuries: Certain objects can pierce the eye and cause severe and permanent vision loss, including cut wire ends, nails, staples, and slivers of wood or metal.
- Thermal and chemical burns: Workers exposed to industrial chemicals, cleaning products, and toxic substances can suffer chemical burns that damage 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.
- Occupational disease: Eye injuries and hearing loss may result from occupational diseases and exposure to certain substances or contaminants.
- Noise exposure: Workers in construction are routinely exposed to loud noise involving demolition, heavy machinery and tools, and larger commercial vehicles. Over time, exposure to loud noise can lead to permanent hearing loss, tinnitus, and other hearing deficits.
Tips to Prevent Eye & Hearing Injuries on the Job
- Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and hearing protection when working with or around loud machinery and tools.
- Take frequent breaks from noise to give your ears a rest.
- Choose the right eye protection for your specific work situation and hazard (i.e. safety goggles glasses, face shields, welding helmets, or full-face respirators).
- Ensure all eye and ear protection fit properly and provide adequate protection.
- Be aware of any hazards that pose injury risks, even if you are simply walking through an area.
- Get your vision and hearing checked periodically to prevent any serious problems.
- Implement engineering controls for eye injury hazards such as machine guarding to prevent the escape of particles and welding curtains to protect against arc flashes. For hearing hazards, engineering controls may include retrofits or mufflers for older equipment or place noisy equipment away from workers.
- Utilize administrative controls such as limiting access to certain areas, establishing a safe distance from noise hazards, or rotating workers between noisier and quieter tasks.
- Conduct thorough hazard assessments to identify Ototoxins and harmful chemicals that pose risks to workers’ hearing and vision.
- Provide proper PPE and eye / hearing protection to workers based on specific hazards.
- Train workers on proper management of eye injury and noise hazards, which not only impact their health, but also worksite safety.
Legal Support for Workers with Hearing or Eye Injuries
If you or someone you love suffered vision or hearing injuries on the job, we strongly encourage you to seek medical treatment and heed the recommendations of your doctor. Hearing and vision injuries can become worse when left unaddressed and may result in permanent disabilities.
In addition to attending to your physical injuries, you can also contact our experienced legal team to discuss your options for recovering compensation.
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., is a nationally recognized trial firm with a special focus on fighting for workers and families following construction accidents and workplace injuries. We have the resources to help clients with both workers’ compensation proceedings involving hearing and vision loss and civil personal injury claims against negligent parties.
To discuss your rights and options during a FREE consultation, call (212) 577-9325 or contact us online.