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Eye injuries cost businesses $450 billion annually (3/26)

March 26, 2008
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With March being Workplace Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month it is worth noting that an estimated 70,000 on-the-job eye-related injuries occur every year costing American business upwards of $450 billion annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The BLS also reports the main causes of eye injuries in the workplace for most companies can be tied to the following six causes:

• Flying objects are the leading cause of eye injuries in American workplaces. Flying or falling objects or sparks striking the eye cause well over half of eye accidents. A significant number of those objects are smaller than a pinhead.

• Contact with chemicals causes approximately 20 percent of eye injuries.

• Improper equipment operation is responsible for more than 30 percent of eye-related injuries.

• Poor choice of eyewear results in a significant number of injuries. Although injured workers are often wearing eye protection, they're not wearing the right kind.

• Improper fit has contributed to 94 percent of the injuries to workers wearing eye protection when objects or chemicals go around or under the protector.

• Lack of awareness and simple ignorance of the risks and the required protection is responsible for many workplace eye injuries. Many injured workers, when asked after an accident, report that they didn't realize eye protection was necessary in the situation.

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