How to protect your eyes while on the job, explained by an Ohio workers' comp attorney
Your eyes are one of your body's most important and delicate organs, and protecting them is crucial, especially when you're at work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20,000 workplace eye injuries occur each year, many resulting in temporary or permanent vision loss. That's why it's essential to be aware of the potential hazards that can threaten your eyesight and take the necessary precautions to prevent accidents.
If you suffer an eye injury while on the job, it's crucial to seek medical attention right away and report the incident to your supervisor as soon as possible. You may be eligible to file a workers' compensation claim to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs.
In some cases, you may face resistance or denial from your employer or the insurance company, which can be frustrating and stressful. That's where a workers' comp lawyer can help by providing legal advice, representation, and advocacy to protect your rights and interests.
In Ohio, the legal team at Hochman & Plunkett Co., L.P.A. can help you navigate the complex workers' compensation system, gather evidence, negotiate with the Bureau of Workers' Compensation, and appeal any unfavorable decisions. With the help of an experienced workers' compensation lawyer from our law firm, you can focus on your recovery while we fight for the outcome your case deserves.
Common work-related eye injuries
Eye hazards in the workplace can come from a variety of sources, depending on the type of job and the environment. For example, construction workers can sustain injuries from flying debris, sparks, and blunt force trauma. Factory and warehouse workers can be hurt by machinery malfunctions, falling objects, and chemicals.
Some of the most common workplace eye injuries include:
- Foreign objects in the eye (e.g., dust, metal, wood, debris): Foreign objects, such as dust, metal, wood, or debris, can cause significant damage to the eye. These objects can scratch the cornea or penetrate the eye, leading to serious injuries, infections, or vision loss. Workers who operate tools or machinery that produce flying debris or work in dusty environments are the most at risk.
- Chemical burns or exposure: Industrial chemicals, such as acids, bases, solvents, and cleaning agents, can cause severe eye injuries, including chemical burns, irritation, or blindness. Even brief exposure to these substances can lead to permanent vision loss. Workers who handle chemicals or work in environments with chemical exposure risks should always wear protective eyewear, such as chemical goggles or face shields, and follow safety protocols to prevent accidental exposure.
- Thermal burns (e.g., heat, radiation, UV light): Heat, radiation, or UV light can also cause thermal burns to the eyes, leading to significant damage or vision loss. Workers who operate welding torches, furnaces, or other high-temperature equipment should wear PPE that can withstand high temperatures and protect the eyes against radiation or UV light exposure.
- Penetration injuries from tools or projectiles: Penetration injuries from tools or projectiles, such as nails, screws, or shards of metal, can cause severe damage to the eye, including retinal detachment, intraocular hemorrhage, or blindness. Workers who use tools that produce projectiles, such as power saws or grinders, should use goggles or face shields to prevent projectiles from entering their eyes.
- Blunt force trauma from falls, collisions, or objects striking the face: Blunt force trauma to the eye can occur from falls, collisions, or objects hitting the face. This can cause eye socket fractures, orbital hematoma, or traumatic cataracts, among other injuries. Workers who operate vehicles, work at heights, or work in environments with moving equipment are the most susceptible to eye injuries caused by blunt force trauma.
- Electrical shock or radiation: Electrical shock and radiation can cause severe eye injuries, such as cataracts, retinal damage, or vision loss. Workers who work in environments with electrical equipment or exposure to ionizing radiation should always wear protective eyewear.
- Eye strain or fatigue from prolonged computer use or close-up work: Eye strain or fatigue can occur from prolonged computer use or close-up work, leading to headaches, dry eyes, or blurred vision. Workers who spend significant time working on computers or performing close-up work should follow the 20-20-20 rule, which means taking a break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This can help reduce eye strain and fatigue. Additionally, workers can adjust the lighting, font size, and screen distance to minimize eye strain and use specialized glasses designed for computer work.
Keep in mind that workers' compensation is a no-fault system, so even if you made a mistake or were at fault for your eye injury, you may still be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. However, it's essential to report the injury to your employer as soon as possible and seek medical attention to ensure that you receive proper treatment and documentation. Failure to report the injury promptly could jeopardize your claim and limit your ability to recover the benefits you're entitled to under Ohio law.
Hochman & Plunkett can help you navigate the workers' comp system
Workplace eye injuries can have a significant impact on a worker's health, finances, and quality of life. That's why having an experienced workers' compensation lawyer by your side is crucial when you've been injured on the job.
At Hochman & Plunkett Co., L.P.A., we have more than 150 years of combined experience fighting for our clients' rights and obtaining the compensation they deserve. Our attorneys have the skills, knowledge, and resources to handle a wide range of workplace injury cases, including those involving eye injuries. We can help you navigate the workers' compensation system, file a claim, appeal a denied claim, and negotiate a fair settlement.
If you or a loved one has suffered a workplace eye injury in Ohio, don't hesitate to contact us for a free initial consultation. With offices in Dayton, Cincinnati, Springfield, Troy, and Columbus, we're here to help injured Ohio workers every step of the way.