The Importance of Workplace Eye Safety: Tips for Protecting Your Vision
Workplace Eye Wellness Month is observed in March.
March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month, a time to raise awareness about the importance of maintaining healthy vision in the workplace. Eye injuries at work can have serious consequences, including partial or total vision loss, and most can be prevented with proper safety measures. Employees and employers must take proactive steps to protect workers' vision — and workers need to know their rights in the event of an eye injury on the job.
How do eye injuries happen at work?
Eye injuries are considered serious work injuries. Workers who suffer from an eye injury are at risk of permanently losing their vision. According to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC), the most common causes of workplace eye injuries include:
- Scrapes: The eye can be damaged due to tiny particles and objects in the air, like dust, cement chips, metal slivers, or wood chips. These particles can be propelled by wind or tools or fall from heights and scrape the eye.
- Penetration: This type of eye injury can result in permanent blindness. Objects found in many worksites—such as nails, staples, or slivers of wood, glass, or metal—can be propelled through the eye.
- Burns: Burns to the eye can occur in several ways. Chemical burns are caused by cleaning products or industrial chemicals. Thermal burns involve fire and high temperatures. Flash burns are caused by exposure to extremely bright light, a common injury among welders often called "welder's flash" or "arc eye."
Eye injury prevention
There are three key defenses against eye injuries at work. According to Prevent Blindness, the three things you can do to protect your eyes at work include:
- Training on eye hazards and dangers
- Observing the workspace and eliminating hazards
- Wearing the right eye protection
Keep in mind that accidents can happen despite taking all the necessary precautions, though safety experts say proper eye protection can mitigate the severity of 90% of these accidents, if not prevent them altogether.
Types of protective eyewear
Employees have different options for safe eyewear protection depending on the type of work. Some of these include:
- Face shields
- Welding helmets and goggles
- Full-face respirators
For an employee working in a hazardous area with the risk of flying particles, eye gear should have side shields that protect the eyes from flying objects coming from all angles. For a worker exposed to chemicals, goggles are often the best option.
Each type of eyewear will have either glass, plastic, or polycarbonate lenses. Plastic and polycarbonate are lightweight but easily scratched. Glass lenses tend to be heavy but scratch resistant. All three types of lenses must meet safety requirements to protect your eyes at work.
Get help from a Mississippi work accident lawyer for your eye injury
If you suffered an eye injury at work, knowing your legal rights and options is essential. As an injured employee in Mississippi, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits, but navigating the process can be complex.
At Tabor Law Firm, P.A., we have experience handling all types of workplace injury cases and can help you find your way forward after an on-the-job eye injury. We know how to fight for maximum compensation and get the results you deserve. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today for a free consultation. We proudly serve clients throughout Mississippi.