The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that around 2,000 workplace eye injuries happen across the country every day. Some workers are at a higher risk for suffering eye injuries because of their occupations, such as those working around chemicals or in construction. However, any worker can have an eye-related accident, including individuals working in offices.
Despite the high number of occupational eye injuries, experts say that around 90 percent can be prevented. Some of the key steps for reducing the chance that you will experience an eye injury at work include the following strategies.
Understand How Workplace Eye Injuries Happen
Any eye injury can be a unique or exceptional event. Nevertheless, the vast majority of eye injuries are due to one of the following causes:
- A foreign object becomes lodged in the eye: This can include small particles of barely noticeable material such as dust from machinery.
- The eye is exposed to harmful or irritating liquids or gas: Even slight exposure to fumes or vapors can lead to lasting damage.
- The eyes suffer from the strain of staring at a screen or other object: Eye strain may seem like a mild injury but can make it difficult for a worker to focus on tasks. It also may lead to permanent changes in eyesight.
- The eyes become damaged due to exposure to radiation: Individuals who work around ultraviolet radiation or other types of radiation can end up with eye injuries.
- The eye is hit by an object: Blunt-force trauma to the eye can damage not just the eye, but the surrounding soft and hard tissues as well.
Knowing the main reasons and risks for eye injuries can help you make the safest choices while on the job.
Wear High-Quality Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
If you work in an industry with a high rate of eye injuries, your personal protective equipment (PPE) should include some kind of eye protection. From goggles to helmets, your PPE should undergo regular inspection to ensure it still works as expected. Maintaining your PPE is vital to stopping a preventable eye injury from occurring.
Talk to a supervisor if you notice that your PPE has malfunctioned and you need a replacement. Additionally, make certain that your PPE provides the protection you need. For instance, goggles should wrap around the face to ward off foreign objects from several angles.
Set up Routine Vision Screenings
Visiting an eye doctor regularly can help identify the earliest warning signs of progressive eye injuries, such as eye strain. A sudden change in vision could be associated with an occupational setting, like working in front of a computer screen for hours without a break.
Some employers arrange for vision screenings for their employees every year. Always take advantage of these opportunities to get your eyes checked by a trained medical professional.
Take Eye Injury Warning Signs Seriously
Some workplace eye injuries are sudden, serious, and obvious. Others may be less easy to recognize at first. Any changes in the eye including swelling, burning, redness, pain, irritation, tearing, bleeding, or loss of sight warrant attention.
You should get seen as soon as possible even if your eye injury seems temporary. Waiting can exacerbate the problem.
File for Workers’ Compensation for All Job-Related Eye Injuries
Your employer carries Workers’ Compensation benefits to help cover specific expenses associated with on-the-job injuries that you experience including treatment. After being diagnosed with an eye injury related to your occupation, you are within your rights to file a Workers’ Compensation claim. Just make sure that you alert your employer and file your claim as soon as possible to avoid missing important statute of limitation deadlines.
Sometimes, Workers’ Compensation claims are denied by the insurance company or employer. If this occurs, you may want to speak with a Workers’ Compensation lawyer for help in submitting a well-considered, well-documented appeal.
Speak With a Downingtown Workers’ Compensation Lawyer at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC If Your Eye Injury Claim Is Denied
Did you file for Workers’ Compensation benefits for an eye injury only to receive a denial? Talk with an understanding Downingtown Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC. Call us at 610-594-1600 or submit an online request to make an appointment at our Exton, Pennsylvania location. We serve clients from areas including Lancaster County, Malvern, Morgantown, Uwchlan Township, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Downingtown, Phoenixville, Wagontown, Reading, Lyndell, Chester Springs, and Parkesburg.