Eye Injuries at Work: Who’s at Risk?

Our eyes are delicate organs and it’s important that they’re protected. But some people are more vulnerable to eye injuries than others – and that’s because of the work they do.

A Greek academic study found that the employees most at risk of eye injuries are those who work in:

  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Mining
  • Plumbing and electrical works
  • Welding

People who work with chemicals – for example, refinery workers or those in the pharmaceutical industry – can also face an increased risk of eye injury because of their jobs.

What is the most common eye injury at work?

Some of the most common workplace eye injuries include:

  • Chemicals being splashed into eyes
  • Flying or falling objects hitting the eye
  • Sparks striking the eye

But this isn’t an exhaustive list. Eye injuries can also be caused by low lighting in the area you’re working in, improper use of tools and machinery, or existing poor eyesight that makes it difficult to see the tools you’re working with.

According to the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), 90% of all work-related eye injuries can be prevented from happening. So what should your employer be doing to protect you?

Preventing eye injuries in the workplace

Wearing protective equipment is one of the main ways to prevent eye injuries in the workplace. And your employer must provide you with PPE that’s appropriate for the tasks you’re carrying out on a day-to-day basis.

If you’re working with particles, flying objects or dust, or if you are grinding, hammering or chiselling, you must be given safety glasses with side protection – known as side shields.

Meanwhile, if you’re working with chemicals, you’ll need safety goggles. And if you are working near hazardous radiation – as welders or those working with lasers or fibre optics do – you should wear special safety glasses, goggles, face shields or helmets.

Another important way of preventing eye injuries in the workplace is through education and training. Your employer should ensure that you are taught how to use PPE and how to carry out dangerous work as safely as possible.

Other tips to avoid eye injuries include:

  • Getting regular eye tests
  • Maintaining PPE to ensure it works properly
  • Taking enough breaks so you don’t become tired

What should I do if I suffer an eye injury?

If you are unlucky enough to suffer an eye injury at work, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. This could be from a designated workplace first aider or a medical professional. The important thing is to make sure you get the treatment you need as soon as possible.

It’s also important to make sure your employer knows what happened. Try to ensure that they record the accident and your injury in the work accident book. You can also request a copy of the record. This could be helpful as evidence if you later decide to make an accident at work claim.

Can I claim for an eye injury at work?

If you’ve suffered an eye injury at work as a result of inadequate PPE or a lack of training, you could be entitled to make a claim against your employer.

Compensation amounts vary for these types of cases. But any payout for a successful eye injury at work claim will consider the pain and suffering you’ve endured as well as any financial losses. This could include lost earnings if you’ve had to take time off work or the cost of specialist eye treatments.

We could help you take the first steps towards justice and compensation. To find out more, get in touch with our friendly claims team today. They’ll ask you a few questions about what happened and let you know if you have a strong case.

It’s completely free to discuss your situation , and there’s no obligation to make a claim after speaking to us. If you’d prefer to contact us online, we also have a quick and easy claims form on our website.

However you get in touch, we’re ready to help.


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