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Younger men suffer most workplace eye injuries

February 25, 2005
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Of the nearly 2,000 employees in the U.S. who suffer work-related eye injuries every day, 81 percent of the cases are men, according to Prevent Blindness America (PBA). And, workers aged 25-44 account for 62 percent of eye injuries, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Getting workers and employers to understand the importance of wearing safety goggles and glasses continues to be a challenge, says PBA. More than one in four cases of eye injuries occur at work with as many as 50 percent of those injured wearing no eye protection. Additionally, of those that were injured, many either didn’t think they would need eye protection, or were wearing the wrong kind.

As of 2003, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that eye injuries total more than $300 million a year in lost production time, medical expenses and worker compensation.

Prevent Blindness America (PBA) has designated March as “Workplace Eye Health and Safety Month” in an effort to raise awareness about the necessity of eye safety on the job. The organization offers the following tips to promote safety in the workplace:

  • Only eye protection that has been certified by the American National Standards Institute should be used. Safety eyewear must be clearly marked with “ANZI Z87” and should be worn at all times whenever eye hazards are present.

  • Workers should know where the nearest eyewash station is at their job site and how to use it.

  • Employers should be notified immediately if safety hazards are discovered.

  • Employees should have regular eye exams to make sure their vision is adequate to do their jobs safely.

  • Those who already have reduced vision should ask their employers if prescription glasses or goggles can be provided.
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