Losing some or all your vision can be a traumatizing experience. Eye injuries at work are more common than most realize, but there are ways to prevent them from happening or to minimize the chances of them happening in the first place.
When you suffer an injury at work, you can collect Workers’ Compensation insurance to help pay for your medical expenses and recoup your lost salary. When your employer fails to provide that insurance, you will need to hire a Delaware Workers’ Compensation lawyer who can help you on your case.
What Steps Can I Take to Avoid Workplace Eye Injuries?
Eye injuries can occur without warning, caused by flying debris, a chemical spill, or another unforeseen accident. There are ways to avoid the potential of sustaining an eye injury. Those preventative measures include:
- Knowing the hazards: There are certain professions that lend themselves more to risking an eye injury than others and those include manufacturing, carpentry, auto repair, electrical work, and welding. Those jobs should conduct annual safety assessments to ensure that there are no machines or other hazards that can cause a problem.
- Protecting your eyes: While it is essential that you wear protective glasses that shield your eyes, you should also wear the proper glasses for your work environment. Look out for things such as glasses with side protection, along with special chemical-resistant goggles if you work near hazardous chemicals.
- Inspecting protective gear: Regularly check your protective eye equipment to assure that it is still in working order. Make sure there are no cracks or scratches in the lenses, or any gaps in the seals of the glasses.
- Using eye wash stations: All industrial sites should have eye wash stations available in case of emergency. These facilities will contain water to help flush your eye in the event of a chemical spill. They should be placed a few feet from any location where any eye-related accident could occur.
If you work in an environment where your eyes are exposed to potential hazards or eye strains, you should have your eyes evaluated on a routine basis to ensure that there are no problems. If you encounter any issues with them, you should see a doctor right away.
What Are Common Workplace Eye Hazards?
Workplace eye injuries are surprisingly common, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which says that about 20,000 eye injuries take place in the workplace each year. These injuries cost about $300 million per year in lost productivity, medical treatment, and worker compensation, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
There are a few common hazards at work that cause eye injuries, and not all of them take place in construction sites. These common hazards are:
- Projectiles: These can include anything from dust, concrete, metal, wood, and other particles that are sent into the air by machines, or demolition.
- Chemicals: These can be dangerous on their own, but they can become even more dangerous for the eyes when splashed, spilled, or creating fumes that can get into the eyes.
- Radiation: This can be especially dangerous especially if it is visible light, ultraviolet radiation, heat or infrared radiation, or lasers. These can cause severe and sometimes permanent eye damage.
- Bloodborne pathogens: If a co-worker receives a cut at work, their blood could spatter, risking the possible transfer dangerous diseases such as hepatitis, HIV, and other bloodborne pathogens.
Not all injuries will occur when working around heavy machinery or dangerous chemicals. Eye injuries can also occur in an office. If you work in front of a computer screen all day, one potential hazard for your eyes is “computer vision syndrome,” or digital eye strain. These are eye and vision-related problems that occur from excessive use of the computer, tablet, e-reader, and cell phone. On average, Americans spend about seven hours per day in front of a computer either at home or at work. To reduce the risk of these problems occurring, it is best to take frequent eye breaks by looking away from the screen routinely.
What Should I Do if I Suffered an Eye Injury at Work?
It can be a scary experience if you suffer an eye injury while at work. It is important that you seek medical help as soon as possible. Delaying any medical attention can be dangerous. You should seek medical attention especially if you suffer the following symptoms:
- The person has obvious pain or trouble seeing
- The person has a cut or torn eyelid
- One eye does not move as well as the other
- One eye protrudes compared to the other
- The eye has an unusual pupil size or shape
- There is blood in the clear part of the eye
- The person has something in the eye or under the eyelid that cannot be easily removed
When you sustain an injury at work, you are entitled to collect Workers’ Compensation for your injuries. You will need to first report the accident that caused your injuries to your employers. Tell them what happened and how you were injured.
Your employer will then have 10 days to file the report with the Delaware Office of Workers’ Compensation and the company’s insurance provider. If approved, you will begin receiving benefits for your injuries seven days after you left work, although you begin accruing benefits on your third day out of work.
Workers’ Comp Insurance should pay for your past and future medical bills as well as compensate you for any lost wages you may have suffered due to your accident. You can also receive ongoing benefits if you become disabled or must experience ongoing care.
Delaware Workers’ Compensation Lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow Stands Up for Clients Who Suffered an Eye Injury at Work
If you experienced an eye injury at work or contracted an illness because of a work-related incident, you are eligible to collect Workers’ Compensation. Our Delaware Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow will help protect your rights and ensure that your employer and their insurance follow through on their obligations. Call (302) 427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.