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Some workplace accidents cause irreversible harm to exposed eyes

A worker may say his injury happened in the blink of an eye. However, if properly fitted safety glasses protected those eyes, they could have blinked all day without being harmed. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the eyes of approximately 2,000 workers are damaged in workplace accidents every day, adding up to over 700,000 per year. Many of those occur in New York.

The alarming fact is these type of eye injuries are so easy to prevent -- it takes only a pair of safety glasses. Unfortunately, many employers fail to enforce the use of them and allow employees to choose when to wear eye protection. However, even if workers are forced to wear safety glasses, the safety gear will not prevent eye injuries if they do not fit properly -- considering approximately 70 percent of reported eye injuries were caused by particles no bigger than a pin's head.

Common hazards that threaten eye safety include metal slivers, wood chips, dust particles and sand. These are carried by the wind, blown by equipment or falling from above the worker. In many cases, eyes are damaged by splashing fluids such as chemicals or grease, UV radiation, steam or objects dislodged from machinery.

A survey by the BLS revealed that six out of every 10 victims of eye injuries suffered on the job failed to wear eye protection. Victims of workplace accidents are entitled to pursue financial recovery for medical expenses and lost wages -- sadly, in many of these cases, eyesight will not be recoverable. Victims can file benefits claims with the New York worker' compensation insurance program.

Source:, "I Can See Clearly Now, the Speck Is Gone: Preventing Workplace Eye Injuries", Accessed on July 15, 2017

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