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Thousands of workers suffer eye injuries every day

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2022 | Workers' Compensation

Figures from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reveal that about 2,000 workers in Rhode Island and around the country suffer eye injuries that require medical treatment each day. These injuries are usually caused by foreign objects that get lodged in the eye, hot or corrosive liquids that get splashed on the eye or exposure to radiation or steam, and the overwhelming majority of them could be prevented by goggles or other forms of eye protection.

Safety regulations ignored

Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations require employers to issue eye protection to workers in situations where this kind of safety equipment could reasonably be expected to prevent an injury, but researchers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that almost 60% of the workers who suffered on-the-job eye injuries were not wearing goggles or any other form of eye protection when they got hurt. The 2008 BLS study also revealed that more than one in four workplace eye injuries require treatment that lasts for more than a month.

Digital eye strain

A different type of eye trauma caused by staring too long at digital screens has become far more prevalent in recent years. Americans who work with computers from home or in offices spend about seven hours each day looking at screens, which can cause several vision and eye-related problems that are all classified under the umbrella term digital eye strain. To prevent digital eye strain-related workers’ compensation claims, workers who must use computers should look away from the screen at an item at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. This is called the 20-20-20 rule, and following it gives the eyes a chance to reset and recover.

Benefits for injured workers

Workers who suffer eye injuries while on the job are often unable to earn a paycheck for several weeks. State workers’ compensation programs were put into place to ensure that workers are able to make ends meet while they are recovering from workplace injuries or illnesses, and the benefits they provide are available even if workers were not wearing mandated safety equipment when they got hurt.