Workers’ eyes at risk on the job

For workers on the job in New Jersey, eye safety can be a particularly important task when working with hazardous materials or in dangerous locations. Eye protection can be important in all kinds of jobs, including in traditional desk-based office work. Dealing with eye safety should be a priority in the workplace; accidents and injuries that involve the eyes can be especially devastating and costly.

Each year, there are approximately 20,000 eye injuries suffered by workers on the job in the United States, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that approximately $300 million is lost annually due to workplace injuries involving the eyes. The personal costs to workers can be even higher in many cases, ranging from severe pain to decreased vision and even blindness. Many eye injuries are preventable; safety experts advise that up to 90 percent of workplace injuries involving the eyes could be avoided by wearing protective eyewear. There is a range of safety equipment that can help to protect the eyes, including helmets, face shields, goggles and safety glasses.

While mining, manufacturing, construction and other physical jobs account for 40 percent of serious eye injuries in the workplace, desk and office jobs do not typically provide protection from eye damage at work. Employees who use a computer screen throughout the day frequently experience redness and eye strain as well as headaches and fatigue.

Employers can take action to make the work environment safer for the eyes, including providing protective eyewear and changing the lighting in the workplace to support eye health. Despite actions to improve workplace safety, however, thousands of workers experience serious eye damage every year. Workers who have been injured on the job through an accident or other type of injury may be eligible for workers compensation benefits. A lawyer may be able to help an injured worker to take action and protect their rights.

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