Under Pennsylvania workers’ compensation laws, the loss of both eyes in a workplace accident constitutes total disability. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act also specifies that a worker who loses an eye is entitled to 66 2/3 percent of wages for 275 weeks.
Unfortunately, many different types of workplace accidents can result in the loss of an eye and/or can cause permanent damage to the eyes that leave an employee with impaired vision. If you lose an eye or are left blind or are facing vision damage, an industrial accident lawyer in Philadelphia can provide you with assistance in making a work injury claim and in taking steps to recover compensation from responsible parties.
Eye Protection Essential to Preventing Injuries
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) warns that thousands of people are blinded each year at work as a result of eye injuries. In fact, eye injuries cost more than $300 million every year in workers’ compensation costs, medical expenses and lost production time.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 1/3 of workplace eye injuries require hospitalization and around 100 workers each day suffer eye injuries that are serious enough to result in at least one missed day of work. Most eye injuries include objects hitting the eye or small particles such as metal slivers and wood chips getting into the eye and abrading it. Chemical burns are also a leading cause of damage to the eye, as are thermal burns that can affect welders and their assistants.
While most workplace eye injuries result from trauma, the CDC indicates that healthcare workers, lab staff, animal handlers, janitorial workers and others in customer service professions could come into contact with infectious diseases that affect the eye.
To reduce the risk of injury to the eyes and protect workers’ vision, the CDC provides an Eye Safety Checklist. The steps that should be taken to minimize risk to the eyes on the job include:
- Creating a safe work environment by eliminating unstable or unsecured debris; putting machine guards in place; training workers in proper use of tools; and restricting bystander access to hazard areas.
- Evaluating safety hazards, including both primary hazards at work sites as well as risks posed by nearby workers.
- Ensuring the proper face and eye protection are worn by workers. The eye protection should be in good condition and must be properly fitted to the worker so that it stays in place.
- Using good work practices, including removing dust and debris from hardhats before taking off the eye protection and avoiding touching the eyes with hands or clothing that are dirty.
- Having an eye wash or sterile solution on hand at the work site in order to be prepared in case an eye injury occurs.
By following these tips, hopefully fewer workers will experience eye injuries that result in blindness or serious vision impairment caused by a workplace accident.
Our personal injury attorneys in Philadelphia are dedicated to fighting for the rights of accident victims. Contact Flager & Associates at 215-953-5200 today to schedule a consultation.