Ocular chemical burns in the workplace: epidemiological characteristics of a Spanish cohort.

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Background Epidemiological studies focusing on occupational pathologies can be an important medium through which to bring about change with respect to workplace accidents, both in terms of prevention planning and management as well as the appropriate care following an accident. Ocular chemical burns benefit from urgent attention as, if not treated early and appropriately, the tissue of the eye and its functionality can be seriously compromised. The objective of this study was to collate epidemiological data on workplace ocular chemical burns which could in turn serve to identify key action points in terms of occupational health. Methods Cohort study with 604 cases of chemical burns to the eye occurring in the workplace between 2014 and 2015. Criteria inclusion were diagnosis of chemical burn, patient seen at the medical centre of the mutual society, workplace acquired ophthalmic pathology leading to the issuing of a sickness certificate. No exclusion criteria were defined. Results Ocular chemical burns were the second most common workplace eye injury (12.68%) behind foreign bodies in the eye (43.42%). Men accounted for 68.54% of cases of ocular chemical burns. In around 75% of cases, sickness certification was for less than 7 days, although 6 patients suffered permanent disability. The occupational sector which was most affected particularly the industry service industry. The economic costs with these workplace injuries were extracted. Conclusions Appropriate early medical assistance is essential. The production and distribution of clinical guides for health care workers could optimise first line assistance and mitigate possible training deficiencies.

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Workplace accident, Ocular chemical burns, Epidemiology, Accident prevention