Eye Protection and Injury Prevention in the Workplace
May 6, 2021 | Personal Injury
Each year, about one million American workers sustain a serious eye injury.
Many others develop eye diseases. About 90 percent of these injuries and diseases are preventable.
As outlined below, this combination of serious injury and easy prevention often means that substantial compensation is available for these victims.
In many cases, no-fault benefits are available which help families cope with the financial aspects of these serious injuries.
Additionally, due to the nature of these wounds, a New York workers’ compensation attorney might be able to obtain additional compensation for emotional distress and other non-economic losses.
Types of Eye Injuries
Workplace injuries are either trauma injuries or occupational diseases.
Trauma injuries occur suddenly and without warning.
Occupational diseases occur slowly over time. Eye problems are one of the rare times that the injury could be in either category.
Scraping and striking injuries are the most common kinds of work-related eye trauma injuries.
It only takes a fraction of a second to blink and shield the eye from such injuries.
Unfortunately, tiny projectiles like cement chips, dust, metal slivers, and wood chips fly at the eye and impact it in less than a fraction of a second.
An inexpensive pair of safety glasses or goggles does not impair vision and serves as a force field that prevents such injuries.
But many employers refuse to provide such safety gear.
Other employers do not effectively communicate the need for such protective eyewear.
Power tools, mostly power saws, create most of these injuries.
Yet small particles are also blown by the wind and dropped from other workers.
Many people who are exposed to such secondary risks do not wear protective devices, mostly because their bosses do not require them to do so.
There are other trauma injuries as well. Larger objects, like nails, penetrate the eye and cause permanent blindness in a heartbeat.
Thermal and chemical burns, usually from a flame or chemical fumes, could cause similar injuries.
Workers could contract various diseases through unprotected eyes, such as bird flu, COVID-19, hepatitis, and HIV.
A single microscopic droplet could be sufficient. So could an unexpected blood splash.
White collar professionals are at risk for Computer Vision Syndrome.
Initial symptoms include headaches, eyestrain, and other effects which make it much harder to function at work, at home, or anywhere else.
More severe symptoms include permanent eye problems, like astigmatism and presbyopia (premature eye aging).
On a related note, workers who use computers all day often develop conditions like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) and neck pain.
Prolonged wrist elevation collapses the carpal tunnel in the wrist, pinching the nerves which pass through it.
Bending forward to look at the screen adversely affects the muscles in the neck.
Once again, all these eye diseases are very easy to prevent. And, once again, many employers do not provide eye protection or direct workers to take frequent breaks.
Workers’ compensation provides no-fault insurance benefits which cover economic losses. Injured victims must only prove that they have an illness or injury and that it was connected, in some way, to their work environments.
As for wage replacement, workers’ compensation normally pays two-thirds of the victim’s average weekly wage for the duration of a temporary disability.
This benefit is very important. Rest is often the only treatment for conditions like CTS.
And, even a few days without a paycheck could be financially devastating for many families.
As for medical expenses, workers’ compensation usually pays all medical bills, from the first moment of emergency care to the last day of physical therapy.
New York job injury victims typically get to choose their own doctors. So, victims get the treatment they need, as opposed to the treatment a company doctor is willing to provide.
Many of these victims have weak eyes or genetic conditions which make them more susceptible to serious injury.
Typically, full benefits are available in these situations.
An attorney must only show that the work injury aggravated the pre-existing condition and not the other way around.
Additional compensation is available if the employer recklessly disregards worker safety.
Failure to provide adequate eye protection is clear evidence of recklessness.
Your boss has a duty to protect your eyesight. For a free consultation with an experienced New York personal injury attorney, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. You have a limited amount of time to act.
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