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Eye injuries to workers prevalent in some industries

Eye protection is an integral part of worker safety in many Missouri industries. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the construction industry is among the top two on the list of potential eye injuries to workers. These workers are continually at risk of eye injuries caused by foreign objects, such as splinters and nails, chemical exposure, airborne debris, such as dust, radiation and more.

During summer months, construction workers perform a great deal of their tasks outside, exposing them to many more hazards that may cause eye injuries. Special steps must be taken to protect them against environmental hazards including bright natural light, humidity, extreme heat and high wind. When working in windy conditions, certain activities like grinding, sawing and mixing cement can lead to severe eye damage. The dust and particles created by these activities get airborne, and without adequate eye protection, windblown dust can get into workers' eyes.

Direct bright sunlight, reflections and glares also pose an often overlooked threat. Overexposure can bring about various conditions that may undermine productivity. These include eye irritation, dryness, redness and general eye fatigue. Glares and reflections commonly occur when water, glass or sheet metal forms part of the workplace environment. Workers must be provided with ample eye protection to prevent eye injury caused by glares and reflections.

Working environments can be demanding on the eyes of construction workers, and eye injuries are more prevalent during summer months. Such injuries may cause long absences from work and bring about unexpected medical expenses. Fortunately, the Missouri workers' compensation insurance fund exists to provide financial aid to injured workers. Not only will the insurance fund provide compensation for medical expenses but compensation for lost wages as well.

Source: ohsonline.com, "Tips for Protecting Construction Workers' Eyes in the Summer", Phil Johnson, June 1, 2015

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