Slips and falls, muscle strains and fractures are just a few of the most common work injuries. Injuries to a worker’s eyes do not fall on this list.
So, not many workers worry about their eyes on the job. For example, a construction worker likely worries much more about falling and potentially breaking a bone than they do about their eyes. Yet, work injuries that affect the eyes are more common than many workers might wish to believe.
How common are eye injuries on the job?
Injuries to the eyes are much more common than many workers might think:
- Roughly 2,000 workers suffer eye injuries every day on the job; and
- 10% to 20% of these injuries result in temporary or permanent loss of vision.
Recovering from an eye injury can take days, causing individuals to miss work. And if the injury leads to blindness, it could impact their entire life and ability to work in the future.
Under Maryland law, workers who suffer an eye injury would be entitled to collect workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, loss of vision is often a permanent total disability (Maryland Code, Labor & Employment §9-636). Workers and their families could qualify to collect disability benefits to cover the worker’s lost earning ability and medical treatment.
However, all workers can take action now to protect their eyes from such injuries.
How do eye injuries happen in the workplace?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some of the most common hazards that can result in eye injuries include:
- Striking materials, which can lead particles to fly into the eye; and
- Exposure to dangerous chemicals, which can burn the eyes.
This is precisely why safety glasses are essential for many jobs, including:
- Construction work;
- Electrical work;
- Factory work;
- Mechanics and manufacturing; and
- Healthcare work.
Wearing safety glasses may sound like a simple solution, but Safety + Health Magazine reports that safety glasses can prevent roughly 90% of all eye injuries. When workers take the proper safety precautions – such as wearing safety goggles – they can significantly reduce their risk of sustaining a life-changing work injury.