Assessment of occupational eye injury risk and severity: an analysis of Rhode Island workers' compensation data 1998-2002

Am J Ind Med. 2006 Jan;49(1):45-53. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20234.


Background: Occupational eye injuries have been recognized as a serious health risk to workers and are in need of further investigation to develop effective interventions.

Methods: Rhode Island workers' compensation claims of ocular injury between 1998 through 2002 (n=8,877) were examined. The Current Population Survey was used to estimate occupational employment levels as a baseline for rate calculations.

Results: The estimated ocular injury claim rate was 32.9 per 10,000 workers (95% CI=32.3-33.6), with the cost of claims totaling $1,514,666 and averaging $171 per claim. The highest estimated claim rate of all occupations was found for construction laborers of 373.7 per 10,000 workers (95% CI=267.1-480.3). Relative to the durable manufacturing industry, the highest risk of injury resulting in disability indemnification was the wholesale trade industry (OR=2.18, 95% CI=1.19-4.01, P<0.05).

Conclusions: Many of the eye injuries reported were likely preventable. Greater diligence, training, and safety precautions are needed to reduce the risk of eye injury to employees.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational* / economics
  • Adult
  • Eye Injuries / classification*
  • Eye Injuries / economics
  • Eye Injuries / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Industry / statistics & numerical data
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupations / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rhode Island / epidemiology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Time Factors
  • Workers' Compensation* / economics
  • Workers' Compensation* / statistics & numerical data