Any job or worksite where your eyes are at risk from flying objects, liquids, gases, or other materials is one where you need to wear protective eyewear. Your regular prescription eyewear or sunglasses aren’t going to cut it: eye and face protection is designed for workplace hazards. Choosing the right eye protection is like choosing any other piece of PPE, so use this guide to be prepared for making that decision.
Eye Hazard Assessment
OSHA provides guidelines for job hazard analyses as well as the complementary PPE hazard analysis. This analysis focuses on the equipment needed to safely perform all of the tasks required for the job. When you’re evaluating your job site’s protective eyewear needs, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the task?
- What eye hazards are there?
- What types of protection work against those hazards?
- Are there standards that the protective eyewear needs to meet?
Goggles Versus Glasses
Safety glasses and goggles are common types of eye protection for a lot of industries. Safety glasses will look a lot like normal eyewear, but have stronger lenses and frames to meet ANSI standards. Another crucial difference are the built-in side shields, as they offer protection to the eyes from a variety of angles. They can be made of plastic, polycarbonate, or Trivex, and less commonly glass, which each have their advantages.
Safety goggles are tighter-fitting and form a barrier around the entire eye thus offering better protection from hazards coming from any direction. There are styles that offer protection from impacts, dust, and chemical splash hazards, or a combination of these. Styles may also come in non-vented as well as direct and indirect vented for different applications.
Whatever style of eye protection you choose, make sure it’s used properly. Combine it with engineering controls like machine guards or divided workstations, provide comfortable, well-maintained, and sanitary equipment to make sure it’s used, and practice a workplace safety culture.
Types of Protection
Lens coatings can be applied to safety glasses and goggles to make them more effective in certain environments. Anti-fog coatings are useful in humid environments to ward off condensation, and hard coatings can make lenses scratch-resistant.
Lens tints are offered to provide protection against specific optical hazards. These can be as simple as a grey sunglass shade, all the way to specially formulated absorptive plastic to fend off laser lights. The goal is to protect your vital eyesight from optical radiation hazards while still helping the wearer to see clearly. The lens type you choose should be directly related to the job being performed. For instance, very good Ultra Violet (UV) light protection is provided by polycarbonate lenses without regard to lens color.
An optometrist can help workers with impaired vision get safety glasses or goggles customized with their prescription for optimal visibility when it matters most.
PK Safety Face and Eye Protection
Your eyes are one of your most valuable tools, and you need to protect them. We’ve been in the safety business for decades and have seen many worksites and hazard solutions. We have protective eyewear from trusted brands and can help you find the best one for you: call us at 800.829.9580 or contact one of our safety experts online with your product and safety questions.