Every day there are over 2000 eye injuries in the workplace. Alastair Fernie at Freeclaim Solicitors believes a better understanding of the causes and devastating consequences of eye injuries in the workplace is needed to help improve safety and prevent such life-changing injuries, “Eye injuries are one of the most common workplace injuries, and around 10-20% result in partial or full blindness. Many eye injuries are preventable and employers must focus on eliminating the risk of such accidents and ensuring employees have the correct protective equipment.”
Our eyes are made up of six main parts, each of which enable us to see – the cornea, the iris, the pupil, the optic nerve, the retina and the lens. As they are so complex and fragile, eye injuries tend to be much more serious, even though sometimes caused by a relatively minor incident.
Some of the most common accidents and injuries include splashes and spillages from chemicals, foreign bodies in the eye, sharp objects or fragments such as metal or shards of glass, accidents with tools and exposure to UV radiation.
All employers by law must provide a safe working environment for their employees. Employers should carry out risk assessments to look at the prevention of such accidents and removing any eye safety hazards such as the risk of flying particles, dust, hazardous chemicals etc.
They also need to ensure employees are trained and using face and eye protection such as safety glasses, goggles or face shields. There is also specific eye safety equipment for certain industries and jobs including for example welding. Welding helmets must be worn due to the risk of UV radiation burns which can damage employees’ eyes and the surrounding tissue.
All face and eyewear protection must also be kept in a good and clean condition. Before use, eye protection should be particularly inspected for chips or cracks. Any damaged or broken eyewear protection should immediately be replaced.
Eye injuries range from simple strain to severe trauma, which can cause permanent damage and loss of vision. They have a devastating effect on workers, affecting not only their ability to work, but their ability to drive and perform some of the normal tasks in life. The amount of compensation awarded will depend on the severity and circumstances of the injury. For example, if vision is seriously and permanently affected in one eye, compensation can range from £5,500 to £25,000 for the injury.
If you have suffered an eye injury after an accident at work, consult a specialist personal injury lawyer as this can be a particularly complex area of the law. Freeclaim Solicitors have over 30 years’ experience in helping injured clients after a workplace accident. For more information on making a claim call our 24 hour helpline on 0800 612 7340, or fill in our online enquiry form.