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Q54 - Loss of an Eye

Question:  An employee is sprayed in the face with a chemical and immediately loses vision. A co-worker rushes him over to the eyewash station where his eyes are continuously flushed for 15 minutes. On the way to the eye doctor, the employee’s vision returns. A doctor examines the eyes and determines the quick response to flush the injured employee’s eyes worked well. The doctor tells the employee to take the rest of the shift off to rest at home with cold wash rags over his eyes 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off until bedtime. The doctor also suggests over the counter Visine eye drops if he experiences any irritation.  The doctor returns the employee to full duty the next shift. Is it recordable?

Answer: YES, recordable. NO, non-compliant reporting. A loss of an eye on the job is recordable. However, the employer faces OSHA penalty for non-compliant reporting. In -patient hospitalization AND the loss of an eye are both reportable to OSHA within 24 hours of the incident either by phone or in person at the nearest OSHA office, or by the OSHA toll free telephone number, or online using the reporting application at the OSHA website. No OSHA email suffices per the standard. 1904.39(a)(2) Within twenty-four (24) hours after the in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees or an employee's amputation or an employee's loss of an eye, as a result of a work-related incident, you must report the in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye to OSHA. 1904.39(a)(3) You must report the fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye using one of the following methods: 1904.39(a)(3)(i) By telephone or in person to the OSHA Area Office that is nearest to the site of the incident. 1904.39(a)(3)(ii) By telephone to the OSHA toll-free central telephone number, 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742). 1904.39(a)(3)(iii) By electronic submission using the reporting application located on OSHA's public web site at

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