Many employers overlook the importance of having a variety of eye protection available to employees. While ostensibly eye protection works the same for everyone, differences in gender and overall size and variation can affect the fit, performance and function of safety eyewear. Most safety managers are not trained in fitting personal protective equipment, or PPE, to workers’ individual needs, leaving their employees vulnerable to injury while adhering to the letter of federal safety regulations.
Diversity in gender means that smaller sizes of everything from boots to eye protection may be needed to properly accommodate individual builds. In addition, because facial structure varies widely between genders and ethnicities, PPE that may be fine for a 6-foot Caucasian male may be inappropriate for a 5-foot Asian woman. This can result in discomfort, improper protection, worker distraction and even removal of the offending gear, increasing the risk of workplace accidents.
Style is another important factor to consider. Studies suggest that workers are likely to consider the look and feel of their eyewear in addition to safety features. According to OSHA statistics, employers may expect a return of $4-6 per invested dollar on protective eyewear and a reduction of on-the-job injury costs of 20 t0 40 percent.
In a case involving workplace injuries, an attorney might begin by examining prevailing conditions on the job and the outcome of any formal investigation, including whether appropriately fitting PPE was provided to the injured party. The attorney may issue a request for workers’ compensation benefits, including medical expenses related to the injury, lost wages and occupational rehabilitation or retraining as necessary.