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March 19, 2010

Promoting Eye Safety in the Workplace

Each day some 2,000 U.S. workers suffer a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment. About one third of injuries are treated in hospital emergency departments, with more than 100 daily injuries causing one or more days of lost work.
Whether you consider the number of injuries per day, the associated healthcare costs or the hours of lost productivity, the numbers associated with job-related eye injuries can be overwhelming. But what's even more revealing, according to Prevent Blindness America® (PBA): as many as 90 percent of workplace eye injuries could be prevented by proper eye protection.
Of nearly 300,000 workplace eye injuries in 2000, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nearly three out of every five workers injured were wearing no eye protection or the wrong kind of eye protection at the time of the accident. Injury statistics show:
  • The majority of injuries result from small particles or objects striking or abrading the eye.
  • Among welders, their assistants and nearby workers, UV radiation burns
    (welder's flash) routinely damage workers' eyes and surrounding tissue.
  • In addition to common eye injuries, health care workers, laboratory staff,
    janitorial workers, animal handlers, and other workers may be at risk of
    acquiring infectious diseases via ocular exposure.
To help combat workplace eye injuries and promote eye health, PBA has designated March as Workplace Eye Wellness Month. PBA offers workplace eye safety programs including the Healthy Eyes Vision Wellness Program and the Wise Owl Program that promotes use of approved protective eyewear.
More information on workplace eye safety, including no-cost materials and programs, can be found at:
Blue_Bullet_Small2 Prevent Blindness America
Blue_Bullet_Small2 PBA Wise Owl Program
Blue_Bullet_Small2 OSHA Eye and Face Protection page
Blue_Bullet_Small2 PBA workplace fact sheets
Blue_Bullet_Small2 Safety and protective eyewear information at UVEX
Blue_Bullet_Small2 NIOSH eye safety page
Blue_Bullet_Small2 NIOSH eye safety presentation
Eye safety resources from the American Optometric Association

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