Eye injuries are a risk to many people in their workplaces. There are a few common causes of these injuries, such as penetrating wounds, striking or scraping the eyes, or suffering from thermal or chemical burns.
Workers may be at risk of one or all of these hazards that could affect their eyes, which is why it’s so important for them to be taught about these safety risks and to be prepared to react the right way in an emergency.
What can workers do to prevent eye injuries on the job?
When you work in a position where an eye injury is possible, your employer may be required to provide personal protective equipment to protect your eyes. If they don’t have to provide this equipment, they may still need to have an eyewash station or other protective measures in place to help in case of an eye injury.
The kinds of eye protection that you’ll need to use at work will depend on the kind of hazards that you could be exposed to. For example, if you work with chemicals, it’s normal to have to wear goggles. If you are working with magnesium or welding, then you may have to wear a shield.
What should you do if you hurt your eyes at work?
Immediately after injuring yourself, take steps to address the injury. If you’ve been exposed to chemicals, follow the protocol for washing out the eyes and call 911. When the emergency team arrives, they should be able to further reduce the damage caused by the chemical exposure and get you to a hospital for quick treatment.
If you have an eye injury that doesn’t necessarily require emergency care, you should still let your employer know. You may want to go to your optometrist if you have a piece of debris in your eye or if you think you’ve scratched your cornea, for example.
In any case, if you hurt your eyes on the job, you may be able to seek workers’ compensation. This compensation could help you cover your financial losses while you focus on allowing your eyes to heal.