Eye Injury Prevention

August 8, 2018

Thousands of work-related eye injuries occur each year and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), they cost more than $300 million a year in medical expenses, lost productivity and workers’ compensation. Eye injuries range in severity from eye strain to vision loss and even blindness. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide workers with safe and healthful work environments and to follow regulations specifically addressing eye and face protection.

OSHA Eye and Face Protection Regulations

OSHA has general industry regulations pertaining to eye and face protection as well as specific regulations for those in the shipyard, longshoring and construction industries. OSHA notes that many workers are unaware of potential workplace hazards that make them more vulnerable to injury. Potential hazards include injuries resulting from impact, heat, chemicals, dust and optical radiation.

While workers should be aware of eye hazards, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to workers in addition to – or in lieu of, if not feasible – engineering or administrative controls. Proper PPE should therefore be worn to protect workers from exposure to:

  • Flying particles
  • Molten metal
  • Liquid chemicals
  • Acids/caustic liquids
  • Chemical gasses and vapors
  • Light radiation

Workplace Eye Injury Prevention

What type of PPE is necessary depends on the workplace and its hazards. For example, workers who are exposed to flying particles must, at minimum, wear safety glasses with side shields. Workers exposed to hazardous radiation must wear the appropriate PPE for the particular task, including safety glasses, goggles, face shields or helmets. The PPE must be compliant with OSHA standards and approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

In addition to providing the proper PPE, employers can take several steps to minimize workers’ risk of sustaining work-related eye injuries, including:

Requiring vision testing: Vision problems can increase the risk of workplace accidents. By incorporating vision testing into physical examinations, employers can proactively identify and address workers’ vision problems.

Preparing for emergencies: Eyewash stations should be strategically placed around the workplace, especially in areas where employees may be exposed to hazardous chemicals. Workers should be informed of the location of the eyewash stations and trained in basic first aid.

Implementing safety and training programs: By requiring workers to participate in safety and training programs, employers can prevent many workplace injuries. Workers should be trained on safety topics including the importance of PPE.

Posting prevention strategies: New employees should be informed of the prevention strategies as part of their orientation. Posting prevention strategies in the common areas of the workplace reminds both new and seasoned workers of the proper safety procedures to follow.

Setting a good example: Management should set a good example for workers by wearing PPE themselves and following all safety protocols. When workers see that those in leadership positions take safety issues seriously, they often follow suit.

Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Workers Get Compensation for Eye Injuries

Despite the best efforts of both employers and workers, accidents happen. If you sustained an eye injury at work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident. An experienced Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. can help you get the benefits you deserve. We represent injured workers in Berks CountyBucks CountyChester CountyDelaware CountyMontgomery CountyPhiladelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania. For a free consultation, call us at 888-PITT-LAW or complete our online contact form.