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Eye injuries are among the most common injuries in the workplace, with 2000 such injuries being reported every single day. While most of them occur in the construction industry, a great many are also reported in the oil and gas industry and manufacturing industries as well. There are many ways to get an eye injury; wind can blow foreign objects into the eye, or tiny particles, such as pieces of wood, metal shavings, or even cement dust, can enter the eyes. Just being around common workplace activity, such as hammering, sighing, sanding, or even sweeping can endanger an unprotected eye.
In some cases, injury to the eye can happen through blunt force trauma, when a falling or flying object hits the area around the eye socket or the worker runs into something. It is also possible for an eye injury to occur as a result of handling chemicals, solvents, or hot liquids, when one of those splashes into the eye. These days, working with lasers or ultraviolet rays can also result in damage to the eye in the form of burns.
One thing is for sure, though; in almost all cases noted above, and in fact in nearly all instances, practically all eye injuries are completely preventable by taking proper precautions while you work and by using protective gear for the eyes. Protective equipment for the eyes has been proven to greatly reduce eye injuries significantly. Goggles are the most common form of protective equipment, and it would be a good idea for every worker at a construction site or an oil and gas drilling site to have goggles on at all times. If the worker wears prescription glasses, they should either be provided with prescription goggles or fitted with goggles the fit over the eyeglasses.
In some cases, goggles may not provide enough protection, so it may be necessary to supplement them with face shields, in order to keep airborne particles from entering the eyes. In instances in which there is a danger of injury from splashing chemicals, or during welding, sandblasting, or grinding, every worker should be provided with a face shield. According to eye safety experts, it is necessary for an employer to provide the proper eye protection for each worker in each occupation and each job, based on the specific hazards to the eye that each worker faces.
In addition to making sure all workers have the proper equipment to protect their eyes, it is also necessary for employers to make sure that the workers have been trained as to the proper use of protective eyewear. The eye safety equipment must be a good fit and comfortable for the worker to use, not just to keep the workers safer while it’s in use, but also to reduce the risk that worker will feel uncomfortable enough to remove it altogether and put themselves at serious risk. In addition, workers must be taught how to store the eye safety gear properly, so that it remains in good condition, and it is necessary to replace all eye safety gear when the condition deteriorates.
Employers are also required to post warning signs outside any areas of the workplace in which there is a higher than normal risk of eye injury to workers and in areas where chemicals are being used and there is a risk of those chemicals being splashed into the eye. All employers must also provide a designated and easily accessible eyewash station in order to allow for the chemicals to be rinsed from the affected eye. In addition, all necessary emergency response mechanisms for eye injuries must be in place and all workers must be trained to execute them properly in the event of an eye injury.
If you or a loved one sustained a serious eye injury on the job, and at least part of the reason is that an employer did not provide proper protective eye gear for your situation, you should contact the workplace eye injury lawyers at Adame Garza LLP as soon as possible, so that we can put our experience to work for you and get you the compensation you deserve.