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Improving eye safety for workers

Despite the efforts of national organizations year after year to improve eye protection safety among workers, the number of eye injuries never seems to go down. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that every year, more than 20,000 workers in California and across the U.S. suffer an eye injury. Approximately40 percent of serious injuries take place in the construction, manufacturing and mining industries where flying particles, caustic liquids and toxic gases are a threat.

OSHA estimates that eye injuries cost companies more than $300 million annually in lost productivity, medical expenses and workers compensation pay-outs. Victims may be left with permanent eye damage and even blindness. This is unfortunate considering that 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented with the right eyewear. Protective eyewear should be approved by the American National Standards Institute and OSHA.

Correct practices are also required. For instance, injured workers should get medical help right away rather than try and treat a wound themselves. This applies whether workers have an eye that bulges out, an eye that doesn't move as well as the other, blood in the eye, a torn eyelid or an object lodged in the eye. Desk workers should position their computers 25 inches away, reduce glare and turn away every 20 minutes to reduce eye strain.

Work-related injuries are covered under an employer's workers compensation program, but a lawyer's help may be beneficial when filing for these benefits. Each state places a cap on these benefits, so a lawyer may build up the case in order to ensure that the client receives the maximum settlement. To this end, the lawyer might have third-party experts conduct an investigation of the accident. There is no need to prove that anyone was negligent to claim workers comp benefits; however, filing for workers compensation waives the victim's right to sue the employer.

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