The Hidden Costs of Eye Accidents

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The Hidden Costs of Eye Accidents

Did you know that eye safety violations in the workplace are on the rise? The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that workplace eye injuries cost about $300 million a year. Yet OSHA’s Top Ten Safety Violations for 2018 included a new entry in its top ten:
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By M.B. Sutherland, Sr. Copywriter, Magid

Did you know that eye safety violations in the workplace are on the rise? The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that workplace eye injuries cost about $300 million a year. Yet OSHA’s Top Ten Safety Violations for 2018 included a new entry in its top ten:

#10

Violations for Personal Protection and Lifesaving Equipment Related to the Use of Eye and Face Protection.

 

Improving Eye Safety

As a safety manager, you’re well-versed in the consequences of injuries. But if you’re going to convince both workers and upper management to prioritize eye safety, it may help to break down the real costs – both direct and indirect – of an eye injury. Because it’s not just bad news for one person or department. An eye injury or eyesight loss costs everyone.

Icon of an eye with an arrow inside

Direct Costs of an Eye Injury

Employers

Employers take a hit to the budget in:

  • workers’ compensation,
  • health care costs,
  • lost productivity, and
  • possibly time spent finding and training a replacement.
ProPublica estimates that the average maximum compensation in the United States for losing an eye is about $96,700. Depending on your state, that number can vary from as low as $22,800 in Minnesota to $261,525 in Pennsylvania and even as much as $301,870 for federal workers.

 

 

Employees

The injured worker takes a hit to the bank account if he or she ends up on temporary or permanent disability. Typically just 60 to 70 percent of salary, these benefits often pay far less than the salary your worker and their family are used to counting on to pay their bills.

 

An icon of an eye depicting indirect

Indirect Costs of an Eye Injury

Employers

A little harder to recognize is the added cost to the employer that has nothing to do with money. Seeing a fellow worker badly injured takes a toll on your team that you can’t really measure. Workers’ compensation isn’t usually granted for PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) or other suffering for bystanders. But you’ll still pay in productivity and possibly even lost employees if your workers are traumatized by witnessing or being indirectly involved in a serious accident.

 

Employees

The non-monetary cost for injured workers can be particularly devastating. Here too, it’s hard to measure the losses that affect entire families through:
  • pain and suffering,
  • PTSD,
  • impaired quality of life, and
  • the added burden of care that falls on loved ones.

 

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How to Prevent Eye Injuries

One of the most effective strategies you can use is to make it easy for workers to wear their safety glasses.

Before you start your next shift, make sure both you and your workers consider all the costs of risking an eye injury.