March Is Workplace Eye Wellness Month: Are You Doing Enough to Protect Your Employees’ Eyes?

March 09, 2019
Sacks & Zolonz, LLP
employers workers compensation defense

It is reported that each year over 25,000 people end up in the emergency room due to workplace eye injuries, but not all workplace eye injuries lead to emergency room visits, which means that the number of annual workplace eye injuries is significantly higher than that number. Sometimes eye injuries develop over time and yes, even people with desk jobs may develop workplace eye injuries. Los Angeles employers workers compensation defense attorneys know that defending workers’ compensation claims often begins with employers taking important safety precautions to prevent employee injuries.

National Eye Institute recommendations

The National Eye Institute recommends that employers take precautions to keep the workplace safe and reduce employees’ risk of visual impairment and blindness. See below for a summary of the recommended precautions.

  • Walkthrough the workplace and conduct an eye hazard assessment. To the extent possible, remove and reduce all hazards.
  • Provide proper eye protection for existing hazards in the workplace.
  • Implement a policy requiring employees to use eye protection when there is a risk for eye injury.
  • Maintain eye protection in good working condition and make sure that employees attain the proper fit.
  • Keep bystanders away from potential eye dangers.
  • Use caution flags or other warnings to notify employees of potential eye hazards.
  • Provide eyewash stations near hazardous areas.
  • Post first aid information and instructions.
  • Protecting eyes from blue light

Blue light is known to damage eyes by causing digital eye strain and retinal damage. Sunlight is a large source of blue light and employees who work outside especially, should take precautions to protect their eyes from the sunlight. Blue light also comes from screen exposure including smartphones, tablets, and computers and that puts office workers at risk of blue light eye injuries as well.

In order to protect employees from digital eye strain, you may provide computer screen protections and encourage employees to take breaks from the screen. Computer screens should be positioned as an arms-length from employees. Glare reduction screen filters are also helpful. And for a newer digital eye strain solution, encourage employees to wear computer glasses that have an anti-reflective coating to soften the glare of indoor and outdoor lighting.

Common workplace eye injuries

Common workplace eye injuries include the following:

  • Specks of dust, metal, or other foreign objects in the eyes
  • Cuts and punctures
  • Chemical and thermal burns
  • Digital eye strain
  • Object causing blunt force trauma to the eyes

Preventing and reducing workers’ compensation claims for eye injuries

The American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that 90% of workplace eye injuries could be prevented by employees simply wearing eye protection when eye injury risks are present. This is why it is so important to take the aforementioned safety precautions: prove eye safety information to employees, offer protective wear, and implement policies requiring employees to wear eye protection when there is a risk of injury.

If you are defending a workers compensation claim for a workplace eye injury or any other type of injury, contact a Los Angeles employers workers’ compensation defense attorney at Sacks & Zolonz, LLP to schedule a consultation.

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