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Preventing eye injuries in the workplace

Depending on the industry they work in, some Georgia residents may be at risk for incurring job-related eye injuries. About 2,000 cases of such injuries occur every day in the U.S. and require medical treatment. Approximately one-third of them are treated in hospital emergency rooms. To help prevent such accidents, it's important to be aware of the many different causes of eye injuries.

The most frequent cause is striking or scraping caused by small objects or particles like cement chips, wood chips, metal slivers and dust. Objects are often ejected through high-powered tools. Another common eye injury cause is penetration; this is where a nail, screw or wood chip goes through the eyeball and causes permanent damage. In addition, industrial chemicals and cleaning products can burn the eye.

Eye diseases are another form of injury. Touching the eye with a contaminated finger or getting someone's blood or saliva into the mucous membrane could lead to minor reddening or soreness. In serious cases, workers could develop HIV, hepatitis B or avian influenza.

To prevent eye injuries, employers should provide the appropriate personal protective equipment. After a careful hazard assessment, management could provide goggles, face shields as well as full-face respirators. Engineering controls should be in place to reduce injury and infection risks.

When an employee suffers workplace injuries, they will want to report the accident to their employer and let them know what their intentions are. They will be eligible for workers' compensation benefits, but they may want to hire a lawyer for the filing process. A lawyer could also come in handy if the claim is denied.

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