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Workers suffered 18,510 eye-related injuries and illnesses in 2020

March 31, 2023

There were 18,510 eye-related injury or illness cases that resulted in at least one day away from work in 2020, leading to an incidence rate of 1.7 cases per 10,000 full-time workers. The number of cases decreased 15.6 percent from 2019, while the 2020 incidence rate was down 10.5 percent from the previous year. Contact with objects or equipment led to the majority (11,980 cases) of eye injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work in 2020. Of these cases, 59.6 percent resulted from the worker rubbing or being abraded by foreign matter in the eye. Another 35.6 percent resulted from the eye being struck by an object or equipment.

Number of eye injury and illness cases involving days away from work by major event category, 2020
Major event category Number of cases

Contact with objects or equipment

11,980

Exposure to harmful substances or environments

4,830

Violence and other injuries by persons or animal

1,200

Falls, slips, and trips

290

Separate from contact with objects or equipment, exposure to harmful substances or environments accounted for 4,830 cases. Violence and other injuries by persons or animals accounted for another 1,200 cases.

Construction trades workers had 2,120 eye-related injury or illness cases in 2020, while material moving workers had 1,860. Among construction trades workers, 31.1 percent of eye injury and illness cases involved construction laborers. Electricians made up 22.6 percent of these cases.

Number of eye injury and illness cases involving days away from work in select occupational groups, 2020
Occupational group Number of cases

Construction trades workers

2,120

Material moving workers

1,860

Building cleaning and pest control workers

1,570

Other installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

1,480

Other production occupations

1,120

Metal workers and plastic workers

1,100

These data are from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. To learn more about injuries and illnesses in the workplace, see “Employer-reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses – 2020.”

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Workers suffered 18,510 eye-related injuries and illnesses in 2020 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2023/workers-suffered-18510-eye-related-injuries-and-illnesses-in-2020.htm (visited July 16, 2024).

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