Tips for protecting your eyes at work

The eyes might be the windows to the world, but they are also necessary when working in most any type of construction and similar work. Protecting one’s eyes should be of utmost importance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 2,000 U.S. workers suffer an eye injury while working each day. Approximately one-third of these injured workers require care at an emergency room and over 100 will miss a day of work of more. Most of these injuries are caused by an abrasion of the eye caused by substances like wood chips, metal shavings, cement chips and dust. Some of the injuries result in permanent loss of sight because of the penetration of the eyeball. Blunt force trauma can also cause broken eye sockets or damage to the eyeball.

Infectious diseases can also be transmitted through exposure in the eye. The mucus membranes of the eye can allow the transmission of such disease through splashes of blood or other means. Chemical burns to the eyes can easily occur from splashes of cleaning products or industrial chemicals. Welders and those around them can suffer thermal burns to the eyes.

In order to avoid such injuries to the eyes, employers should ensure employees are equipped with the proper eye protection. Such personal protective eyewear includes:

— Goggles

— Safety glasses

— Face shields

— Full face respirators

This protection must fit the employee or be adjustable to a correct fit. It should allow an employee to have sufficient peripheral vision and be comfortable.

If your eyes are injured while you are working, you should be covered by workers’ compensation. If your claim for medical expenses and/or wage loss is denied, an attorney can help you appeal such a decision.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Eye Safety,” accessed July 17, 2015

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