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Dangerous chemicals and eye injuries on the job: What you should know

On Behalf of | May 27, 2021 | Workers' Compensation |

No matter where you work, there is a chance that you could be exposed to chemicals that could leave you blinded or suffering from serious vision damage. Even simple chemicals like cleaning solutions for kitchens or bathrooms may be dangerous if they get into your eyes. 

Acids and alkalis alike have the potential to cause burns to the eye. Knowing more about the dangers you may face can help you take preventative steps and exercise more caution in the workplace. 

What makes alkalis such dangerous chemicals?

Alkalis are dangerous chemicals because they lead to quick liquefactive necrosis. This means that the cells are destroyed and digested by the chemical. This causes irreversible damage.

Interestingly, chemical acid burns tend to be less severe and less damaging, but acids still may cause significant injuries if not washed away quickly. There is one acid that works similarly to alkalis, however: Hydrofluoric acid also penetrates the eyes quickly and causes rapid damage. 

Which kinds of common chemicals can cause serious eye damage?

In your workplace, there should be a list of the chemicals that are present as well as the steps to take if you get them on your skin or in your eyes. Some chemicals commonly found in workplaces all over the United States include:

  • Bleach
  • Hydrofluoric acid
  • Acetic acid
  • Magnesium

These are more common than you may think. For instance, bleach is often used when cleaning offices or doing laundry. Hydrofluoric acid can be found in common rust-removing products. Acetic acid is plain vinegar, which may be used in kitchens. Magnesium hydroxide is located in fireworks and some other welding materials. 

Your employer has a responsibility to keep you informed about the chemicals in your workplace. If you’re hurt, seek help and remember to file a workers’ compensation claim. If your workers’ comp claim isn’t going as you expected, it may be time to speak to an attorney for some guidance.