Catastrophic Workplace Injuries—Blindness and Deafness


December 17, 2015

Thousands of workers across the country will receive medical treatment as a result of trauma to the eyes or ears in the workplace each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four million workers each day are exposed to damaging noise. Two million of these workers are exposed to such significant noise levels that they will experience hearing loss.

Blindness is a catastrophic injury under Georgia law, which means that injured workers should receive disability benefits and additional compensation extending beyond the normal 400 weeks of coverage. Those who experience damage to their vision or hearing at work will need to obtain the assistance of a knowledgeable workers' compensation attorney who will ensure they successfully bring a workers' compensation claim and obtain the benefits to which they are entitled.

Deafness and Hearing Loss in the Workplace

Hearing loss commonly results from workplace accidents or workplace exposures. The CDC reports that we see 23,000 new cases of occupational hearing loss annually. Employers must comply with federal noise level standards which are intended to protect the hearing of employees. These guidelines dictate that the noise level in the workplace should be at a level 85 dBA or below for eight hours. For any 3 dBA increase above this level, the workers' exposure must be cut in half.

While these stringent guidelines are in place, many employers will routinely violate them. Violation of the guidelines might not be intentional, but the result is the same—thousands of workers will experience partial or total hearing loss due to exposure to excessive noise. Those in the manufacturing sector are deemed most at risk and for many the effects of excessive noise exposure will not be evident for some time.

Blindness and Vision Loss in the Workplace

Workplace injuries are a leading cause of eye injuries, which can lead to blindness or significant vision loss. Potential workplace related eye injuries include:

• Chemical exposure
• Debris, such as glass or metal, that enters the eye
• Exposure to light or radiation
• Dust particles that enter the eye
• Swinging objects that hit the eye


While eye injuries can impact workers across all industries, those at the greatest risk of suffering eye injuries include mechanics, plumbers, repair people, carpenters, and craft workers.

Workers' Compensation Benefits for Hearing or Vision Loss

If you suffer a workplace injury that impacts your hearing or vision, you should have the right to obtain workers' compensation benefits. Workers' compensation is generally an exclusive remedy for injured workers. Depending upon the circumstances of the accident, however, you might also be able to file a personal injury claim against the third party responsible for your vision or hearing loss. Contact an attorney as soon as possible.  Your lawyer will examine the circumstances of what occurred and take the necessary actions to fight for your rights.

Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law: Assisting Injured Workers Across Georgia

Experiencing vision or hearing loss while performing a work task is a devastating injury. If you have been injured in a workplace accident, contact the Georgia Workers' Compensation Attorneys at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law. Our  firm helps accident victims across Georgia and in the Southeast and has over 30 years of experience assisting injured accident victims. The sooner you act after the accident, the greater your chances of obtaining a full recovery. As such, it is important that you seek the assistance of a licensed lawyer as soon as possible. Call Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law, 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.


Sources:
https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/noisehearingconservation/

https://ehs.okstate.edu/training/oshaeye.htm 


Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.