Over 20,000 eye injuries occur in the workplace each year in the United States, requiring the injured person to take time off from work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, further reports that workplace eye injuries cost an estimated $300 million annually in lost employee productivity, medical treatment and expenses, and workers’ compensation payments of different types. Five of the most common work-related eye injuries involve chemicals, flying objects, tools, airborne particles, or a combination of these hazards.
In reality, nearly every workplace has chemicals on site that may result in eye injuries. If nothing else, a workplace usually has cleaning supplies on site. Even these products may contain chemicals that can cause an eye injury. There are certain types business at which extremely hazardous chemicals are present. If one of these chemicals end up in a person’s eye, severe damage will likely result. Indeed, permanent damage is a possibility in some instances.
Another common work-related eye injury involves flying objects that come into contact with one’s eyes. This is because objects can become airborne for a number of different reasons.
In the case of a manufacturing establishment, equipment and machinery of different types will likely cause items of different sizes to become airborne. Even something as basic as horseplay in the workplace might cause an object to become airborne, which may subsequently come into contact with one’s eyes.
Tools of different types represent another common cause of eye injuries in the workplace. More often than not, when a tool causes an eye injury it is because the piece is not being used properly. However, there are some tools that are inherently dangerous themselves and pose a threat to a worker even if used properly.
Particles in the air may cause eye injuries in the workplace as well. Particles can end up in the work environment in a number of ways. For example, a manufacturing process may cause particles to be released into the air. Without proper ventilation, these particles may accumulate in the air in the workplace, ultimately coming into contact with with a worker’s eyes.
Combination of Hazards
Unfortunately, an eye injury may involve more than one hazard. For example, a manufacturing process may involve the use of chemicals while also releasing particulates into the air. The chemicals and the airborne particles may interplay, causing a worker to suffer an eye injury.
Workers’ Compensation Claim
An eye injury in the workplace may result in a workers’ compensation claim. Milwaukee WI workers’ compensation lawyersfocus their practices on providing legal representation to injured workers. As a general rule, a workers’ compensation attorney charges no fee for an initial consultation with an injured worker.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hickey & Turim, S.C. for their insight into work-related eye injuries.