The many construction projects around Spokane keep construction workers busy. These worksites also present hazards that workers must face every day.
Those responsible for a construction project are obligated by law to find the safest ways for workers to complete their tasks, but unfortunately, the protection of the employee can sometimes be neglected.
Any lapse in safety in a construction zone can leave a worker vulnerable to injury. Almost any part of the body can land in harm’s way, but one of the injuries with the longest-lasting consequences is damage to the eye.
Eye Hazards on Construction Sites
The CDC found that more than 10,000 eye injuries each year force employees to miss workdays. Researchers also report that construction has a much higher rate of eye injuries than any other industry.
A construction zone has hundreds of hazards that could damage an eye or eye socket. Here are just a few of the possible threats:
- Debris propelled through the air. This includes nails, mental filings, splinters, and cut wire ends.
- Mixing cement or other materials.
- Sawing, grinding, chipping releasing dust, and grit into the air.
- Threats from heavy machinery.
- Chemical interactions.
- Arc welding.
OHSA Required Eye Protection
OSHA requires working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm. Employers are also responsible for extending information and training (in a language and vocabulary the worker understands) about workplace hazards and methods to prevent them.
For eye safety specifically, OSHA enforces these requirements for construction workers:
“The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.”
More on OSHA Regulations pertaining to Construction Site protection for the eyes and face can be found here.
Common Eye Injuries for Construction Workers
The Center for Construction Research And Training warns that up to one in five work-related injuries cause vision loss. This can be temporary or permanent for a worker. Victims also report experiencing a lot of pain while recovering.
Some of the eye injuries that can result from a construction site accident include:
- Eye Swelling or a black eye (usually not serious but can be caused by a bone fracture).
- Orbital Blowout Fracture and Hyphemas – An orbital blowout fracture is a crack or break in the facial bone near the eye. A hyphema is bleeding in the space between the cornea and the iris. Both of these injuries are caused by a severe blunt force trauma, often happen simultaneously, and are both serious medical emergencies.
- Traumatic Iritis – This injury to the iris, or the colored ring around the pupil, is the result of other types of eye injury, and is more of a side effect or symptom. Often found after blunt impacts from an object. Medical treatment is needed to properly heal.
- Eye Bleeding – The medical term for eye bleeding is a subconjunctival hemorrhage.
- Corneal scratches.
- Chemical burns.
- Eyelid lacerations.
Construction Site Eye Injury Compensation
A construction site company and others involved in the project, like a supervisor, are legally responsible for providing a reasonably safe job site. If they are found at fault, state law allows for compensation for the injured person. A worker can be awarded financial compensation for many of the losses and hardships suffered during recovery:
- Medical Bills
- Rehab treatment/equipment (any eyeglasses or special devices for vision loss)
- Lost time from work (Including the expected future lost time)
- Permanent disability/disfigurement
- Pain and mental anguish
- Loss of consortium (Being without the support of a spouse, partner, family member, etc.)
Contact a Spokane Construction Accident Lawyer
Construction accident claims can be complex. Determining who can be held responsible for your eye injury between property owners, construction firms and investors, sub-contractors and even safety gear manufacturers can be confusing. Make sure you have an experienced law team on your side to navigate this process and make sure you get all of the financial compensation you’ll need to make a full recovery.
Established in Spokane in 1948, Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S. is committed to providing our clients with the absolute highest quality legal representation. If our construction accident attornies represent you for your accident case, you have our assurance that we will use our absolute best efforts to win your case. Contact us after any accident resulting in a serious injury for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation. We will only offer you advice which is in your best interest.