The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks construction as second among occupations with the highest rate of eye-related injuries. In Oklahoma, the summer months expose workers to a variety environmental hazards. Some of the most common threats include heat, sunlight, humidity and high winds that may lead to an eye injury.
Every construction site is unique, so there is no specific standard for eye protection, but there are national and employer-based standards in place as a guide for safety managers. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that employers give workers the proper safety eyewear for the hazards that are present. Many workplaces choose to implement guidelines beyond the agency’s to make sure employees are protected.
Even with safety standards that have helped reduce the number of eye injuries in the construction field, the number of eye injuries that resulted in missing days from work still exceeded 25,000 in 2013, according to the BLS. Many safety professionals state that nearly all construction-related eye injuries could be prevented if the employees were outfitted with the correct safety eyewear. Safety eyewear should provide ample impact protection to keep workers’ eyes safe from foreign bodies such as nails, splinters, fragments and chips, which can cause punctures and abrasions resulting in vision loss. Eyewear should block sunlight and glare, which can lead to cataracts and blindness. Appropriate eyewear can also reduce the effects of fog, which can blind workers and leave them open to injury.
Regardless of attempts to ensure workplace safety, workers in the construction industry and other occupations still can get injured while on the job. Those who are eligible may choose to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits with the assistance of an attorney. Benefits that may be available can include the provision of medical care as well as a percentage of wages lost when the injured claimant is unable to return to work during the recovery period.