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What to know about eye protection at work

According to PreventBlindness.org, approximately 2,000 people incur eye injuries on the job each day. One in 10 of these result in lost time from work. In addition, 10 to 20 percent of all work-related injuries in Connecticut and the rest of the U.S. result in temporary or permanent vision loss. Employers are encouraged to find durable, comfortable and fitting eyewear for their employees.

When testing for a good fit, employers should take into account their employees' facial features, eyesight and personal preferences. Younger workers especially may have their own preference when it comes to color and style. Employers should make sure that eyeglasses are tested by a reputable, independent third-party lab and meet the ANSI Z87+ standard for high impact. High-quality eyewear shows employees that their employer cares for their safety.

Compliance with safety guidelines via education is the primary thing. Employees should also be told what to look for when choosing their own eyewear. It is best to stay way from lightweight eyeglasses because the manufacturers of these may be skimping on the quality. For instance, they may have made the lenses thinner and thus unable to provide impact resistance.

Anti-glare technology has become more common in safety eyeglasses because of increased screen time for many employees. This can help prevent strain and fatigue in the eyes. Conventional computer glasses, though, cannot protect against hazards like debris.

Eye injuries are just one type of workplace injury, but they can lead to people being out of work and perhaps being left with a diminished capacity to earn a living. The workers' compensation program can pay out benefits covering medical bills and short- or long-term disability leave as well as a portion of lost wages. Victims may be eligible for these benefits regardless of who, if anyone, was responsible, but they may want a lawyer for the filing process.

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