Every day, approximately 2,000 U.S. workers receive some form of medical treatment for eye injuries related to or sustained at work.
While vision loss is one of the top ten disabilities, 90 percent of eye injuries are preventable. Men typically fall victim to eye injuries more often than women. In 2004, men made up 80 percent of the eye injury cases that resulted in days away from work. In that same year, men had an eye injury rate four times that of women.
Eye injuries occur most often among those who operate heavy machinery or moving parts and those who work in construction. Eye injuries can also be caused by particles, chemicals or harmful radiation. Seventy percent of eye injuries are a result of coming into contact with an object or piece of equipment, and 26 percent of eye injuries are due to exposure to harmful substances or environments. Each year, 15,000 welding equipment-related eye injuries and 10,000 power tool eye injuries occur.
These injuries come with significant costs. Workplace eye injuries cost businesses $300 million annually in medical bills, compensation and downtime. Among private industry employees in 2004, there were 37,000 reported days away from work cases because of eye injuries.