In a study conducted by the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII), it was revealed that 4.7 million industrially related eye injuries were reported in 2002. This is an alarming number considering that a worker’s vision is the primary sense that he uses for his source of living.
What’s even more alarming is the ratio between the aforementioned number of eye injuries and the number of workers employed in the private sector. Almost 6 workers out of 100 can potentially suffer an eye injury, based on the trend established by the statistic discussed above.
The Most “Eye-Unfriendly” Industries
Out of the 4.7 million workers who suffered eye injuries in 2002, majority of them came from 2 industrial sectors: the manufacturing sector, and the services industry. The manufacturing sector accounted for 52% of the eye injury cases for that year. On the other hand, the services industry accounted for 20% of the said cases.
The construction industry ran a close third, with 16% of eye injury cases happening in this sector. This is quite a surprise, considering the heavy machineries, riskier tasks, and plentiful perils that a construction worker has to live with. Most people tend to believe that the construction industry would be the most “eye-unfriendly” labor sector today.
Most of the eye injury victims are males, as they account for 81% of the total number of cases. 61% belong to the 25 to 34, and 35 to 44 age groups.
A piece of good news: 87% of these cases are considered slight or less grave.
However, 4% of such cases led to permanent loss of vision.
The Inevitable Conclusion
From the sad statistics we have discussed above, we can be sure of two things:
1. Workplace eye injuries DO happen, and they happen more often than expected
2. Industries have to impose stricter measures to protect the eyes of their workers
Some sectors do make eye protection mandatory, but the majority of the industries that contribute to the alarmingly huge percentage of eye injuries per annum do not impose such measures.
If the safety of the workers’ vision is to be salvaged, state legislations should be passed that will make it mandatory for certain industries to require their laborers to wear sufficient eye protection gear. The protective eyewear should be provided by the companies themselves.
Better yet, these companies can initiate such moves. They can, without compulsion from any statute or ordinance, take heed of the statistics regarding eye injuries per year and take it upon themselves to impose eye protection measures for the benefit of their number one investments: their employees.
Joe Russell is the President/CEO of http://www.iatcenterprises.com and http://www.fogtech.ca IATC is a distributor and retailer of Fogtech and WileyX protetcive eyewear as well offering other products and accessories for extreme sports applications and industrial safety.
IATC Enterprises also provides marketing consulting as well other business services to small, medium or large companies and corporations.
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