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Statistics Reveal Need to Protect Eyes at Work

Promoting the importance of wearing eye protection continues to be a challenge. Each day, 2,000 US employees suffer work-related eye injuries. Of these cases, 81 percent involve men. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers age 25 to 44 account for 62 percent of eye injuries.

More than one in four eye injuries occur at work. Of those injured, 50 percent were wearing no eye protection. Many of the injured workers did not think they needed eye protection, while others were wearing the wrong type.

As of 2003, the Dept. of Labor estimates that eye injuries account for more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses and workers' compensation.

"Ninety percent of job-related eye injuries can be prevented," says Prevent Blindness America's (PBA) Daniel Garrett. "When employers and workers join together to make jobsites safer, the results will be dramatic."

PBA offers the following tips to promote eye safety in the workplace:

  • ANZI Z87 must be clearly marked on safety eyewear, which must be worn when eye hazards are present.
  • Workers should know where to find the nearest eyewash station and how to use it.
  • Employers should be notified immediately if safety hazards are discovered.
  • Employees should have regular eye exams to ensure that their vision is adequate to perform their jobs safely.