Workers, Keep an Eye on Safety

On-the-job injuries bring vision loss, even blindness, study shows

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FRIDAY, March 10, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- More than 36,000 American workers suffered eye injuries on the job in 2004 and required time off work to recuperate, according to a recently released U.S. Department of Labor study.

"It is vital for employers and employees to make eye safety a number one priority every single day. Even the most skilled and experienced workers can be involved in an unforeseen accident and have their vision altered forever," Daniel D. Garrett, senior vice president of Prevent Blindness America, said in a prepared statement.

Workers in manufacturing and production had the highest rate of eye injuries, followed by workers in installation, maintenance and repair, and construction. Men accounted for 80 percent of eye injuries, and workers aged 25 to 34 reported the most eye injuries.

Proper eye protection can prevent 90 percent of all job-related eye injuries, says Prevent Blindness America, which has designated March as Workplace Eye Health and Safety Month.

The organization has created the Wise Owl program, which provides workplace eye safety education materials and recognizes companies and individuals who've saved vision through their dedication to eye protection.

Prevent Blindness America offers the following workplace eye safety tips:

  • Safety eyewear must have "ANSI Z87" clearly marked on all glasses or goggles and should always be worn when there are potential eye hazards;
  • Workers should know the location of the nearest eye wash station and how to use it;
  • Employers should be notified immediately about potential safety hazards;
  • Employees should have regular eye exams to make sure their vision is adequate to do their jobs safely;
  • Workers with reduced vision should ask their employers if prescription safety glasses or goggles can be provided to them.

More information

The U.S. Department of Labor has more about eye and face protection.

SOURCE: Prevent Blindness America, news release, Feb. 23, 2006


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