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Workplace accidents: Eye protection vital PPE for landscapers

Authorities say several of the safety hazards in the landscaping industry can cause severe damage to workers' eyes. Employers in this field can prevent many workplace accidents by providing employees with eye protection and by making sure that they wear it. Along with the risk of getting dangerous chemicals in their eyes, there are the hazards posed by flying objects -- from stones to pieces of wood, twigs or bark.

Data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that work-related eye injuries nationwide, including in New York, exceed 20,000 every year -- with many of them leading to several days off work. However, some such injuries can have devastating consequences. A 33-year-old landscaper explained how he almost lost sight in his right eye when he failed to wear eye protection while edging the sidewalk.

A one-inch sized rock got kicked up and struck him in the eye, and his first thought was that he had lost his eye. Fortunately, this was not the case, but his ophthalmologist said the impact of the rock had caused compression of his eye and this triggered blood vessels to rupture in his iris. This caused hyphema, which could cause the loss of vision, cataracts, retinal detachment or glaucoma. To prevent further bleeding that could have caused one of these catastrophic conditions and surgery, the man had to rest his eye by staying very still for two weeks.

The doctor said he was fortunate to receive prompt medical care that saved his eye. She says any job that involves working with a machine with an on-button requires the operator to wear eye protection. Any victims of such workplace accidents can seek recovery of medical expenses and lost wages by filing workers' compensation benefits claims with the New York insurance program.

Source: totallandscapecare.com, "Safety watch: Safety glasses need to part of PPE routine", Jill Odom, July 10, 2017

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