Prevent Blindness, a nonprofit health and safety organization based in Chicago, reports that nearly 2,000 people a day suffer work-related eye injuries that require medical treatment, and about 15 percent of those injuries lead to a temporary or permanent loss of vision. Therefore, employers should do everything they possibly can to reduce eye hazards in worksites.
Hazardous substances like poisonous gasses or vapors, molten metals and liquids, airborne pieces of metal, stone or other sharp objects can seriously injure workers’ eyes, so employers and supervisors are required to provide personal protective equipment. Employers should also be thoroughly knowledgeable regarding the dangers associated with each job task, and eye hazard assessment tests are the best way for them to do this. Once all the worksite’s eye hazards have been identified, employees should be provided with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety glasses, face shields and goggles.
Other things employers can do to prevent occupational eye injuries include offering vision tests, establishing mandatory eye protection programs and hiring trained professionals to ensure that their employees’ eye protection fits correctly and PPE is appropriate for their particular tasks. Organizations should also repair damaged eyewear protection and offer ongoing education training classes on its use.
Employers have a duty to provide safe workplaces and should make every attempts to ensure their workers are fully protected from eye hazards and other dangers. However, when people are hurt on the job and require medical attention for serious injuries, they have the right to apply for workers’ compensation, which will usually cover their medical expenses and a portion of the income they missed while recovering.