Work-related eye injuries impact thousands of Americans across Minnesota and the rest of the United States every day, and many of these injuries are preventable. However, when they do occur, they have the potential to have a serious, long-term impact on a worker’s quality of life.
According to the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health, about 2,000 American workers suffer on-the-job eye injuries every day across the nation.
Who faces a high risk of work-related eye injuries
Workers in some industries, among them construction, mining, manufacturing and health care, face an elevated risk of suffering on-the-job eye injuries. Workers who regularly use welding equipment are also at high risk for eye injuries. So, too, are workers who use power grinders, buffers, or hand and power tools including saws, drills and sanders.
What contributes to work-related eye injuries
Many different factors contribute to a worker’s risk of experiencing a work-related eye injury. Arguably the biggest is whether a worker appropriately uses eye protection. Research shows that about three out of every five American workers who suffer eye injuries were not wearing eye protection at the time their injuries occurred. It is also vital that workers in construction, mining, welding and similar industries wear the right kind of eye protection. About 40% of workers who suffer eye injuries wear some form of eye protection, but it may not be the right form.
Estimates suggest that about 90% of work-related eye injuries are avoidable. Today’s employers have a duty to train their workers about how to protect their eyes and otherwise have safety protocols in place to reduce these types of injuries.