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.
Am. J. Ind. Med. 49:45-53, 2006. (c) 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.