Eye injuries at work are serious events that require immediate attention, medical assessment, and intervention. The loss of an eye or part of a worker’s vision has a dramatic effect on their quality of life. On top of medical bills, the lost income related to temporary or permanent disability can be catastrophic to the victim and their family. The South Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks LLP are dedicated to helping injured workers claim the maximum amount of compensation available.
Causes of Eye Injuries at Work
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports over 2,000 workplace eye injuries each year across the United States. That translates to over five people each day suffering an injury that can result in partial or total loss of vision. While all workers are at risk for an eye injury, those in the carpentry, electrical, welding, manufacturing, mechanical, and computer data industries are more prone to these injuries.
The most common causes of workplace eye injuries include:
- Debris in the Eye: Even some of the smallest particles of dust that get in the eye can cause an injury. Metal flakes, sawdust, splintered wood, glass, or sparks can cause significant damage to the cornea. Staples, nails, wires, saw blades, and other construction equipment can seriously impact the eye, causing devastating injury and loss of vision.
- Blunt Force Trauma: When the eye area is hit by another object, the force can cause bleeding inside the eye. Retinal detachment, fractured bones surrounding the eye, and damage to the optic nerve can cause blindness or significant vision loss.
- Chemical Splashes: Toxic chemicals and even some household cleaning products can cause serious damage to the eye. Chemical spills, backsplash, and improper handling can result in permanent damage and loss of vision.
- Allergic Conjunctivitis: Workplace substances such as paint, chemical, and manufacturing products contain materials that cause an allergic reaction. Even fruit, spices, shellfish, nuts, and vegetables brought into the workplace by other workers can cause a severe allergic reaction. When the allergic reaction results in conjunctivitis, workers require time off to heal and fully restore their vision.
- Overexposure to Ultraviolet (UV) Rays: Bright lights, sunlight, lasers, and fluorescent lighting are necessary to provide ample light in workplaces. Overexposure to these light sources can result in eye damage and diseases, such as cancer and cataracts.
- Computers: It is hard to find a job today that does not involve computers. However, sitting in front of a computer all day can result in various afflictions. Migraines, nausea, fatigue, eye strain, and dizziness are common side effects of extensive computer exposure.
Eye Protection is Vital to Avoid Injury
Employers are legally obligated to provide their employees with a work environment that is free from unnecessary hazards. Eye safety is an important part of all safety policies and procedures in the workplace. Employers must comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) eye safety mandates by providing:
- Eye safety glasses with protective side shields
- Proper training on eye protection and safety procedures
- Machine guards that reduce the risk of flying debris
- Hard hats in construction and manufacturing areas to prevent blunt force trauma
- Training in handling toxic chemicals
- Eye wash stations in the workplace to deal with eye emergencies
- Proper UV eye protection for workers with prolonged exposure to sunlight
- Scheduled breaks for computer workers to avoid eye strain
What to Do If You Suffer an Eye Injury at Work
Even the most safety conscious workers can suffer an eye injury. When this happens, it is important to follow the proper procedures for claiming workers’ compensation benefits. These include:
- Obtaining medical or emergency help immediately
- Once the injury is stabilized, report the accident to the appropriate supervisor or Human Resources department
- Keeping all medical records, including follow up treatment and prescription medications
- Filing the appropriate workers’ compensation insurance forms
While some workers may think their injury will get better on its own, prolonging treatment can have devastating consequences. To ensure you receive the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve, be sure to file the necessary forms within the specified deadline.
South Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks LLP Help Injured Workers Claim the Benefits They Deserve
If you suffered a workplace injury or illness, contact the South Jersey workers’ compensation lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks LLP at 856-761-3773, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. We will help you through the entire claims process. Our Cherry Hill, New Jersey office serves clients throughout South Jersey, including the City of Camden.