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Eye protection may reduce injury rate

Roughly 2,000 American workers suffer an eye injury each day. However, up to 90 percent of such injuries that occur in workplaces in New York and around the country cold be prevented through the use of eye protection. Financial losses related to lost productivity, treating the injury and compensation add up to about $300 million annually.

Roughly 40 percent of workplace eye injuries take place in the construction, manufacturing and mining sectors. However, anyone can suffer an eye injury even while working in an office. Spending long hours staring at a computer screen could lead to eye fatigue while looking at small type could lead to headaches or eye strain. A reduced blink rate could lead to red or dry eyes. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, office workers should place their computers at least 25 inches away from their eyes.

Furthermore, workers should take a break from looking at their computers every 20 minutes. During this time, they are advised to look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds, which will help bring their blink rate back to normal. The normal blink rate is 14 per minute. Those who work in environments that may include falling debris or chemicals should have goggles or safety glasses that are compliant with OSHA safety standards.

Most New York employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance coverage, and benefits thereunder should be available for these types of injuries. However, since some employers could dispute such a claim by alleging that the injury was due to non-work activities, it might be advisable for such an injured worker to have legal assistance during the process.

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