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Protective gear could save Minnesota workers from eye injuries

According to some statistics, more than 2,000 eye injuries occur in the United States on a daily basis. Prevent Blindness America says that at least 90 percent of these incidents could be avoided if workplaces took appropriate safeguards, such as using personal protective equipment (PPE) correctly. The organization notes that common workplace eye injury causes include tools, flying objects and exposure to radiation, chemical agents or particulate matter. Safety overseers and employees are cautioned to assess hazards and use controls to reduce risk prior to beginning work.

Certain cases, however, revealed that some employers fail to recognize risks after incidents. In one instance, OSHA fined a lumber mill in Alabama more than $43,000 after the company neglected to provide eyewear PPE following multiple violations. In another instance, U.S. Forest Service ranger districts in Oregon didn't enforce eyewear requirements for employees who worked with corrosive chemicals.

One OSHA official said that employers who claim they had implemented appropriate safety systems may still have dangerous workplace conditions. In addition to PPE, specialists recommend that workplaces keep preservative and preservative-free eye drops on hand and offer access to eyewash stations and emergency showers. Because mere discomfort isn't an accurate sign of the seriousness of an injury, it's important to keep injured eyes lubricated.

Life-changing workplace injuries, like those that harm the eye, can impact an individual's ability to maintain employment and deal with daily life. Some eye injuries may lead to a progressive worsening of vision, which may need expensive medical attention. Those who have hurt their eyes on the job may pursue legal remedies by filing a claim and seeking compensation.

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