How To Avoid Eye Injuries in the Oil and Gas Industry

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Working in the offshore oil and gas sector presents many dangers. Employees use hazardous equipment, travel long distances, and often work in high or confined spaces. Eye injuries in the oil and gas industry are just one danger workers face, but they can impact an employee significantly.

If you or a loved one work in this field, you should understand your rights after a work injury. Haun Mena has experience assisting Houston employees in the oil and gas industry. Contact us today for help with your claim.

How Employees Experience Eye Injuries in the Oil and Gas Industry

Eye injuries are a significant work hazard. According to the CDC, about 2,000 workers a day experience an eye injury that’s serious enough to need medical treatment. More than 100 of these injuries result in one or more lost work days.

Eye injury categories

There are three basic categories of eye injuries:

  • Chemical and thermal burns: Chemical burns happen when industrial chemicals enter the eye. Thermal burns are common among welders.

  • Scraping or striking: These injuries occur when something strikes or scrapes the eye. Dust and metal slivers are among the culprits, and they can fly from equipment, blow in on the wind or fall on a worker from overhead.

  • Penetration: Metal shards, wood pieces, staples, and nails can strike a worker’s eye.

Workers can experience a number of specific types of eye injuries in the oil and gas industry.


Pterygium is an overgrowth of conjunctive tissue often caused by overexposure to UV rays. It can happen when welders do not have proper eye protection while working. Pterygium causes pain, redness, and sometimes vision distortion.

Corneal abrasions

Corneal abrasions can happen when dust, metal shards, or other objects blow into the eye. Windy conditions can make workers more susceptible to corneal abrasions. These injuries cause light sensitivity, redness, and pain.

Foreign body

A foreign body is a particle or object that enters or penetrates the eye, such as a tool or metal scrap. A foreign object in the eye can cause abrasions, ruptures, lacerations, vision changes, or vision loss.

Flash burns

Flash burns are potential eye injuries in the oil and gas industry. Also called “welder’s eye” or “arc eye,” these burns result when sparks enter the eye. They can cause pain, light sensitivity, vision changes, or vision loss.

Chemical burns

Chemical vapors, powders, or sprays can burn the eye. The longer the eye is exposed to the chemical, the more severe eye damage can be. Chemical burns can result in disfiguring scars, vision loss, and vision impairment.

Traumatic glaucoma

Traumatic glaucoma can happen following a blunt or penetrating eye injury. Debris, blood, and fluids can collect, increasing eye pressure. It may happen immediately after an injury or manifest years later.

How To Prevent Eye Injuries in the Oil and Gas Industry

Eye injuries can be anything from minor to devastating, but there is good news. The American Academy of Ophthalmology states that 90% of eye injuries are preventable.

Employers must provide adequate protection

Proper eye protection is essential to injury prevention. Your employer is responsible for providing the PPE required for your job.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employers must ensure employees wear face or eye protection when exposed to:

  • Flying particles
  • Liquid chemicals
  • Molten metal
  • Acids or caustic liquids
  • Chemical vapors or gasses
  • Harmful light radiation

Employees need side protection when exposed to flying objects. Additionally, workers exposed to harmful light radiation must wear the shade number appropriate for the exposure.

You can reduce the chance of eye injury

You can do your part to protect against eye injuries in the oil and gas industry. Wear the eye protection your employer provides. Don’t take chances, even for a few minutes — accidents can happen quickly.

If you have questions regarding the adequacy of the PPE your employer provides, ask company representatives about it.

If you experience eye injuries in the oil and gas industry, get help immediately. The faster you act, the better your chances of recovery. Don’t hesitate to let your company know about your injury or its extent. The IOSH refers to a study that showed half of workers with eye injuries minimized the damage.

Get Help From an Attorney for Eye Injuries in the Oil and Gas Industry

If you’re a Houston worker who has experienced eye injuries in the oil and gas industry, you may have questions. The attorneys at Haun Mena have a background in helping workers injured on the job. We believe no one should pay for an injury that wasn’t their fault. Fill out our contact form or call us anytime at 713-528-8861.

Eye Injury FAQs

My employer gave me eye protection, but I was injured anyway; is it their fault?

Don’t assume your PPE is adequate just because that’s what workers have always used or everyone else wears. In the study, IOSH refers to, three of every five workers with eye injuries were wearing the wrong kind of eye protection when injured or wearing none at all.

What is the most common eye injury?

The CDC reports that the most common eye injury is striking or scraping. This can happen when something falls on a worker and causes blunt trauma. It can also occur when dust or particles blow into the eye.


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