March Eye Safety Month

February 28, 2019

Approximately 2,000 U.S. workers suffer eye injuries each year, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). March is Workplace Eye Health and Safety Month – a time for both employers and employees to focus on reducing the number of workplace eye injuries. The American Optometric Association (AOA) aims to educate the workforce on how to protect their eyes and prevent eye injuries in the workplace.

Potential Workplace Eye Hazards

Construction workers, welders, woodworkers, and healthcare workers are just some types of workers who may be harmed by eye hazards in the workplace. Common potential workplace eye hazards include:

  • Acids/caustic substances
  • Bloodborne pathogens
  • Chemicals/gasses
  • Molten metal
  • Projectiles/flying particles
  • Radiation

Common Workplace Eye Injuries

Thousands of people are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries that could have been prevented with the proper eye protection, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Other common types of workplace eye injuries include:

  • Chemical burns
  • Eye strain
  • Flash burns
  • Hyphema (bleeding in the anterior chamber of the eye)
  • Irritation from foreign objects
  • Penetrating injuries
  • Scratches/corneal abrasion
  • Traumatic iritis (inflammation of the iris)

Another common workplace eye injury is digital eye strain (also called computer vision syndrome). Workers who spend more than three hours per day at a computer may suffer symptoms including blurry vision, eye fatigue, light sensitivity, and headaches. These symptoms are typically temporary and can be alleviated by following the AOA’s 20-20-20 rule, which recommends taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away.

How to Prevent Work-Related Eye Injuries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that work-related eye injuries cost more than $300 million a year in medical expenses, lost time from work, and workers’ compensation. OSHA provides some guidance for the general, as well as several specific industries, on the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers at risk for eye injuries.

Generally, workers should be aware of the of the potential hazards associated with their particular workplace and wear the proper type of protective eyewear for the job. Some types of eye PPE include:

  • Safety glasses – These sturdy glasses protect the eyes from dust, debris and liquid from entering the eye. They can also help prevent workers from penetrating injuries.
  • Goggles – Safety goggles help prevent hazardous liquids and flying particles from entering the eye. They can be worn over prescription eye glasses.
  • Face shields/helmets – This option offers full face protection and is especially helpful for those exposed to heat and sparks, such as welders. Safety goggles or glasses should still be worn underneath for added protection.
  • Eyewash stations – Employers should have eyewash stations in certain workplaces where workers are exposed to chemicals and other toxins.

Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Represent Those Suffering Work-Related Eye Injuries

If you suffered an eye injury at work, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. We can help you navigate the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system and get the benefits you deserve, including compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. Our skilled attorneys represent all types of workers in Philadelphia and throughout the state. For a free consultation, call us at 888-PITT-LAW today or contact us online.

We proudly represent injured workers in Berks CountyBucks CountyChester CountyDelaware CountyMontgomery CountyPhiladelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of AbingtonAmblerArdmoreBala CynwydBensalemClifton HeightsCrum Lynne, DarbyDowningtownDoylestownDrexel HillEssington, FolcroftGlenoldenHaverfordHavertownHolmesKutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion StationMorton, Narberth, Norristown, NorwoodPhiladelphiaProspect Park, QuakertownReadingRoxboroughSharon HillUpper Darby, West Chester and Wynnewood.