Ongoing training and safety procedures can go overlooked in the maritime industry, which poses a grave threat to workers. According to the CDC, there are nearly 2,000 work-related eye injuries every day in the U.S. Injuries to the eyes have a devastating effect and often lack a promising road to recovery.

Contact a maritime lawyer if you or a loved one has suffered blindness or impaired vision due to the negligence of an employer, vessel owner or crewmember. You may be eligible for compensation under various federal laws.

Blindness and Vision Impairment Maritime Lawyer in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska

The attorneys at BOATLAW, LLP have been representing injured maritime workers on the Pacific Coast for over 40 years. We understand the last thing you need to deal with is a lawsuit, but we will aggressively fight on your behalf to ensure you recover the compensation you need.

Schedule a confidential consultation today. Call 1-800-262-8529. BOATLAW, LLP represents injured maritime workers in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska.

Information Center

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Types of Eye Injuries

80% of what we perceive is taken in through the eyes, making it one of our most important senses. Whether temporary or permanent, losing eyesight is one of the most challenging injuries to overcome. An array of injuries can cause blindness and vision impairment. Some of these injuries include:

  • Chemical burns: Occupational exposure is the leading cause of chemical burns to the eyes. The maritime industry uses a multitude of chemical that can cause blindness and vision impairment such as acids, alkalis and benzene, to name a few.
  • Head trauma: Even the most minor head injuries can lead to impaired vision and blindness. Head trauma can cause increased pressure in the skull and place pressure on the optic nerve. This pressure can cut off the blood flow to the eyes. Head injuries can also case the retinas to detach and vitreous hemorrhage.
  • Hyphema: Hyphema occurs when blood collects inside the eye between the cornea and the iris. The injury is typically caused by trauma to the eye. If left untreated, hyphema can cause permanent vision problems.
  • Foreign objects: Foreign objects can enter the eye due to lack of eye protection and human error. Foreign objects in the eyes that can lead to blindness or impaired vision include glass, metal and hazardous particles.

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OSHA Standards for Eye Protection

As a maritime worker, your employer is required to follow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines to ensure your safety. You may be eligible for compensation under maritime law if your employer failed to abide by these guidelines and it resulted in your blindness or impaired vision.

The Eye and Face Protection standards under section 1915 of the OSHA for Shipyard Employment requires an employer to ensure every employee uses the necessary eye and face equipment when they are exposed to the following hazards:

  • Flying particles
  • Molten metal
  • Liquid chemicals
  • Acid/caustic liquid
  • Chemical gases/vapors
  • Dangerous light radiation

Shipyard workers are often exposed to radiant energy during welding and cutting. These activities can give off electromagnetic energy that can cause serious eye injuries. An employer is required to ensure face and eye protection is worn by employees performing such work or observing the operation.

Eye protection is also required to feature side protection when there is a potential for objects to fly. This type of protection reduces the risk of grinding fragments, bristles and slag chips from entering the eyes.

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Compensation for Vision Impairment and Blindness

You have rights under federal law as a maritime worker to recover compensation for injuries caused by negligence or unseaworthiness. How your injuries are compensated largely depends on your duties as a maritime worker, the severity of the injury and where it took place at sea.

Depending on which maritime laws apply to your situation, you may be eligible to recover compensation for the following:

  • Medical costs
  • Loss of past and future wages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Maintenance and cure
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish

Injuries taking place three nautical miles from the U.S coast are typically covered under the Jones Act while injuries caused by a vessel that took place on land are covered under the Admiralty Jurisdiction Extension Act. Other maritime laws that may apply to your situation include the Outer Constitutional Shelf Act, the Longshore Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and the Public Vessels Act.

Deciding which maritime laws apply to your situation is challenging to do on your own. It’s advised you contact a maritime attorney if you have suffered blindness or impaired vision due to a maritime accident. They can advise you on the best course of action and advocate on your behalf.

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Additional Resources for Blindness and Vision Impairment

Eye and Face Protection | OSHA – Follow the link provided to read the Eye and Face Protection standards for shipyard workers. You can learn about the necessary protective shades for protection worn when working around radiant light and the required thickness for protection plates around certain operations.

Eye Safety | CDC–  Read an article from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention over eye safety. You can gain access to information over workplace eye diseases, how eye injuries can occur at work and what you can do to prevent eye injuries.

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Blindness and Vision Impairment Admiralty Attorney in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska

BOATLAW, LLP is a well-respected name in the maritime industry. Our attorneys are trial veterans and strategic negotiators. We will stop at nothing to pursue your goals and make sure you receive maximum compensation.

Call 1-800-262-8529 to schedule a confidential consultation. BOATLAW, LLP represents injured seamen in Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska.

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