The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that every day about 2,000 U.S. workers sustain job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment.
Chemicals or foreign objects in the eye and scratches on the cornea are common eye injuries that occur at work. Other common eye injuries come from fluids splashed in the eye, burns from steam and ultraviolet or infrared radiation exposure.
The following statistics are taken from the American Association for Ophthalmology. About 300,000 people visit ICUs every year due to eye injuries sustained in the workplace. 40 percent of these injuries are sustained in industrial settings such as manufacturing, construction and mining. Non-industrial occupations with the most emergency room visits for eye injuries include leisure/hospitality and healthcare professions.
Workers experience eye injuries on the job for two major reasons:
1. They were not wearing proper eye protection.
2. They were wearing the wrong kind of protection for the job.
A Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of workers who suffered eye injuries revealed that nearly three out of five were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident. These workers most often reported that they believed protection was not required for the situation.
Workplace eye protection is needed when the following potential eye hazards are present:
Suitable eye and face protection need to be used whenever there is a reasonable probability of eye injury. Personal protective eyewear, such as goggles, face shields, safety glasses or full face respirators must be used when an eye hazard exists (Check our safety goggles & spectacles category page to see the various available options). The necessary eye protection depends upon the type of hazard, the circumstances of exposure, other protective equipment used, and individual vision needs.
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