Accidents that happen in the workplace, no matter what circumstances cause them and to what degree of severity, can always be life changing. However, vision loss injuries can be one of the most complicated and serious injuries due to the fact that vision is so precious. You only get one chance when it comes to sight. So what happens when you sustain a vision injury in the workplace? What rights do you have?
Common Eye Injuries in the Workplace
You may be surprised to find that more than 800,000 people sustain eye injuries at work each year in the United States. There are some injuries that are more common than others, all of which are just as serious as the next. Find out now what these injuries are and how they are caused.
- Projected Particulates: If you work in a shop, you may find that projected metal flakes, shards of glass, and other particulates may enter the eye or scratch the cornea if you are not wearing proper eye protection. Sometimes these particulates are so small that you couldn’t imagine them causing so much agony.
- Tools: Tools can cause damage to the cornea such as commercial staples, nails, wires, cutting instruments, saws, and blades.
- Blunt Force Trauma: Injury can be caused to the eye if blunt force trauma occurs. Some things that may cause it are falls onto hard surfaces, auto collisions, and falling inventory.
- Chemicals: Splashed chemicals can cause damage in the workplace, which can be irreversible. Usually serious burns and blindness will result.
- Overexposure to Ultraviolet Rays: Are you working somewhere where you are overexposed to sun lamps, lasers, or fluorescent lights? Then you may have eyestrain that could lead to migraine headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and more.
- Computer Usage: Being exposed constantly to a computer screen may cause you issues like migraine and fatigue as well. This is due to the fact that office computers provide a backlight that can be two to five times brighter than the eye needs to function properly.
In some jobs, you may find that you are more at-risk of going completely blind. It is true that really any type of working environment could cause you physical ailments; however, some jobs cause more of a risk due to the factors involved. This is why you should always be aware of your surroundings in the workplace and also be aware of all safety hazards that you may meet along the way. If you are in a high-risk occupation, there are some steps you may want to take to protect your vision. There are some factors to consider more than others such as your exposure to bright lights, exposure to chemicals, risk of electric shock, environment with grit or airborne particles, sharp objects, and more.
Safety Precautions to Protect Eyes in the Workplace
You may think that eye protection is something that you as the employee should be concerned about and how you can save your eyes from harm. However, this is something that an employer should be thinking about because it concerns the safety of his employee. Employers are meant to identify potential accidents and attempt to eradicate these risks. In some especially risky jobs, personal protective equipment (PPEs) are used to ensure protective methods. PPEs should be maintained, stored, and fitted properly for all employees. If an employee is using a pair of goggles that are too big for his face and they slide out, the purpose is defeated (Sorensen).
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are somewhat common and, in certain working conditions, may happen more than you think. However, when a TBI occurs, one of the first things you think of may not be, “My vision could be affected by this.” Many people have found that TBIs can cause very serious problems to a person’s vision for many reasons. Some of the most common problems you may experience include blurred vision, double vision, and decreased peripheral vision. Here are some ways that you could be affected in your day-to-day life, especially if you must continue on with your work life:
- When you are looking up from reading, it may take a long time to focus completely.
- It may be too difficult for you to look at a computer screen.
- You may feel like you are having visual overload in places with many patterns.
- You may be bothered by light or glare.
- Your eyes may ache or hurt and you may tear up more than usual.
- Your depth perception may be off.
- When you are sitting or standing, you may lean forward or backward too much.
- You may have difficulty searching and scanning for visual information.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have spoken up about the reality of eye injuries and the trauma they can cause for those in a working situation. For instance, around 2,000 workers each day in the United States receive medical treatment as a result of eye trauma in the workplace. Workplace injuries are actually a leading cause of eye trauma, vision loss, disability, and blindness according to NIH. It has been found that many workers who suffer vision problems on-the-job will typically file for workers’ compensation benefits to cover their injuries. However, these same workers must be able to prove that their injury was directly related to performance or work duties. If they cannot make a clear connection that either safety precautions were avoided or the working conditions were too dangerous, and their eye issues were a result, then they cannot make a claim.
Lawsuits Involving Vision Claims
Vision loss, if caused negligently by the workplace, may be eligible for a personal injury lawsuit. Employers are meant to protect their employees in the best ways possible, offering them eye protection where needed and making sure that conditions are overall safe. This is why, if you suffer a vision-related injury, especially one where the damage is permanent and cannot be reversed, you may be able to file for a personal injury lawsuit. However, you will need an experienced attorney who has had years of practice working in personal injury lawsuits to help you gain the compensation you deserve. If your vision has been affected due to an injury in the workplace, call Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi.P.C. We will fight for your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve!