Work-related eye injuries can happen in just about any type of environment, but certain occupations see more of these injuries, including construction, manufacturing, mining, carpentry, plumbing, and maintenance jobs. Losing vision would completely change and upend a worker’s life. It would change the quality of a worker’s life and their ability to earn a living. This is why it is important to protect against workplace eye injuries.
Almost all eye injuries can be prevented with proper eye protection. It is imperative for employees and employers to insist on wearing proper eye protection, especially in and around areas of work where injury is possible.
The financial cost of a serious eye injury can be significant for both employers and employees. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid an eye injury at work. These steps could reduce work accidents, injuries, and even Workers’ Compensation claims.
Know the Risks at Your Workplace
Knowing the risks at your workplace will protect you from most injuries because you can plan and protect against those hazards. You should always know the risks of your job, especially when the dangers could lead to a serious eye injury that could put you out of work for months or even permanently blind you.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), about 2,000 workers suffer eye injuries every day that require medical treatment. You should know when to wear eye protection due to the increased risk of injury on a particular jobsite.
Always Wear Proper Eye Protection
Not only should you always wear eye protection in dangerous areas, but you need to wear the correct eye protection. Proper eye protection will prevent almost all work-related eye injuries. Your eye protection should be approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), made from the correct protective materials, and it should also have side protection. If you work around dangerous chemicals, then special goggles are needed.
Also, make sure your eye protection glasses fit properly, especially if you wear prescription glasses. Either wear protective goggles that fit over your prescription glasses, or have your employer provide safety glasses that have your proper vision prescription. The goal is to wear safety glasses that are comfortable and efficient.
Regularly Inspect Your Safety Glasses
You should not wear protective eye gear that is broken or damaged in any way because it will affect its ability to protect you against injury. Your employer should have standard protocol that requires regular and periodic inspection of all safety gear used at your workplace, especially eye protection gear. If any of the safety glasses are cracked or damaged and you cannot wear them properly, then those glasses need to be thrown away and replaced.
Use Eye-Wash Stations if Needed
Eye wash stations are a necessity, especially if you will be working around chemicals. The stations should be easily accessible and close to the areas where a chemical splash to the face could occur. Every worker should be shown where the eye-wash stations are located so that everyone knows what to do in an emergency.
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Eye Injuries
Mostinjured New Jersey workers are entitled to medical benefits and wage loss benefits. All of your medical bills will be covered as long as they are for treatment related to the work injury, including hospitalization, surgery, prescriptions, and prosthetic devices. An injured worker will receive compensation to cover a portion of their lost wages if they are unable to work due to the injury. If an injured worker is disabled and unable to work at all, they may be able to recover permanent disability benefits for a partial or total disability.
Loss of vision is a “scheduled loss” under New Jersey law. For loss of vision, an employee may receive benefits for 200 weeks, whereas for the enucleation of an eye, an employee may receive benefits for 25 weeks. Enucleation is the surgical removal of the eye, leaving behind the muscles and remaining orbital contents.
The amount of benefits that an employee with a permanent loss of vision receives depends on the percentage that they are deemed disabled. If an employee suffers the loss of both eyes, they will be deemed permanently and totally disabled and will receive 70 percent of their average weekly wages, subject to the state minimum or maximum, for 450 weeks.
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC Help Workers With Debilitating Eye Injuries
Suffering from a serious work-related eye injury can turn your life upside down, especially if it prevents you from earning a living. If you need help with a claim, speak with one of our New Jersey Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC today. Call us at 856-751-7676 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We are located in Mount Laurel, Cherry Hill, Trenton, Vineland, New Jersey, and Trevose, Pennsylvania, and we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.