Eye injuries or visual impairment can impact mobility, disrupt work, interfere with the ability to drive and significantly reduce personal independence on several levels. Severe injuries can also increase the risks of falls and accidents and lead to a feeling of depression and isolation.
Work-related eye injuries are most common in construction, manufacturing and services industries (although they may occur in any workplace). In this article, we’ll explain how eye injuries can occur and how to start an eye injury compensation claim. So, if you’re wondering, how does workers compensation work when it comes to eye injuries, keep on reading – and if you have any further questions, you can get in contact with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.
- Common workplace hazards that cause eye injuries
- Types of eye injuries
- Factors that can increase the risks of work-related eye injuries
- Signs that could indicate serious eye injuries
- Prevention of eye injuries in the workplace
- How to start an eye injury compensation claim
5 Common Workplace Hazards That Cause Eye Injuries
The most common causes of eye injuries include:
- Airborne objects like glass, dust, metal, plastic and wood
- Power tools and equipment that emit sparks (like welding tools)
- Cutting, drilling, chiselling, hammering, spraying and machining/grinding processes
- Working with hazardous chemicals
- Eye disease may be caused by exposure to UV radiation
It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure safety in the workplace and to provide all employees with the correct PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Workers who have sustained an eye injury at work may be entitled to pursue an eye injury compensation claim.
Types of Eye Injuries
Different types of eye injuries may occur at work. Some common examples include:
- Punctures, scratches, cuts to the eye surface
- Embedded foreign objects either on or in the eye (corneal abrasions)
- Chemical eye burns
- Eye damage caused by welding flashes
An experienced workers compensation lawyer can help you seek compensation from your employer. The amount of compensation for eye injuries may vary, depending on the extent of the injury and its impact on your life.
Factors That Can Increase the Risks of Work-Related Eye Injuries
Some common factors can increase the likelihood of eye injuries at work:
- Inadequate supply and usage of eye protection gear
- Workers are not trained to use PPE
- Lack of enforcement of safety rules
- Ill-fitting or low-quality eye protection that doesn’t offer 100% protection
- Only the operator wears eye protection and people in the vicinity are still at risk
- The PPE is old, broken or unusable and has not been replaced
Incurring an eye injury can have a negative, long-term impact on your life, but eye injury compensation can help lessen the financial burden that may result from the experience.
Signs That Could Indicate Serious Eye Injuries
As one of the most delicate organs, the eye is very delicate, and even a minor injury may result in partial or total loss of sight. Any sudden trauma causes the eye to compress and retract as blood tends to pool under the site. Some common symptoms that indicate serious eye injuries are listed below:
- Cuts or abrasions in the eyelid
- Dull or severe pain
- Bleeding from the lower lining or in the clear part of the eye
- Swelling, discolouration and light-sensitivity
- Bruising, tenderness or bone deformities
- Double vision or unusual pupil size (pupils should be small in the light and larger in the dark)
- One eye may not move
Do not try to rub, squeeze or touch the eye and refrain from putting ointment or medication in the eye. For chemical burns, wash the eye gently with cool, clean water.
If not urgently treated, severe injuries may result in permanent vision impairment. Please seek medical assistance immediately.
Prevention of Work-Related Eye Injuries
Employers can take several proactive steps to minimise risks from eye injuries:
Employers should adhere to safety regulations and ensure that safety equipment is compliant with recommended safety standards.
All workers should be fully aware of where safety equipment is stored and how to use it. More than 40% of workers who suffered eye injuries at work reported being unaware of eye safety precautions.
The employer should implement regular safety training programmes and new employees should be updated regarding safety rules in the workplace.
Inspection and Maintenance
Protective eyewear can become dusty, cracked or loose over time. Cracked eyeglasses can cause accidents due to glare and dirty glasses may result in blurred vision. Regular inspection and maintenance of eye safety equipment helps reduce risks.
All eye safety equipment, including low, medium, and high-impact eye protection, should bear the Australian Safety seal to ensure authenticity. The type of safety equipment will depend on the nature of hazards in the workplace.
Failure to comply with safety standards can endanger worker safety and result in fines and even imprisonment.
How to Start an Eye Injury Compensation Claim
Workers’ compensation for eye injury may vary depending on the cause, including negligence or lack of safety training, among other factors. You may be entitled to eye injury payouts if the employer has breached his or her duty of care.
Eye injuries can affect your day-to-day life and ability to work and reduce your quality of life. Our dedicated team at Owen Hodge Lawyers can help you claim for maximum compensation for an eye injury. We also have experience dealing with other workplace injuries, so don’t hesitate to get in contact!
If you’re considering filing for eye injury at work compensation, please feel free to call us on 1800 770 780. We will work hard to help you with your common law claim to get what you deserve.
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