Safety & HCM Post

Specs Appeal

If your eyesight is good you might have a little more trouble adjusting to safety eyewear on the job than someone who wears glasses regularly.

Using safety eyewear is well worth the effort to protect your good vision. Workplace hazards commonly cause vision defects that are much more serious than the ones helped by corrective glasses. Blindness in one or both eyes can be caused by a cut, a projectile, impact or chemical splash. A piece of metal flying off a grinding wheel or a spill of caustic liquid can ruin your good vision in an instant.

So if you are not yet cool with your safety glasses, try this combined approach:

  • Keep searching until you find eyewear that fits comfortably. Talk to your supervisor to see if there are other suppliers you can try. Fit can be affected by differences in head size and the shape of the nose, temples and ears of an individual wearer. To improve fit, adjustable headbands are available, as well as different designs in safety head gear to accommodate safety eyewear. Soft, formed and flexible components of safety glasses can also increase comfort.
  • Persist with your safety eyewear until you are comfortable. It might just take some getting used to.


Each day an estimated 1,000 eye injuries occur in workplaces in the United States alone. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has found almost 70 per cent of workplace eye injuries involve flying particles. Included in this category are falling objects and sparks. Most of these objects striking the eye are smaller than a pinhead and are travelling faster than an object thrown by hand.

Chemical contact accounts for about one-fifth of the eye injuries. Objects swinging from a fixed position, such as tree limbs, or chains also cause many eye injuries. And this is where eye protection comes in. Nearly three out of five workers were not wearing eye protection at the time of the injury. Of those who were wearing some eye protection, many had the wrong kind, such as protective glasses with no side shields.

So you can see it is important to wear eye protection and to wear the right design. Your supervisor can help you determine when you need to use safety eyewear and what type.

Safety Glasses
Safety spectacles give minimum protection. They are for general working conditions where there might be minor dust, chips or flying particles.

Side protection, such as side shields or a wraparound design, prevent objects from coming in behind the safety glasses. You should use an anti-fog treatment so you can continue to see in cold or humid environments or when you are hot and sweaty. Use an eyewear retainer to keep the glasses positioned correctly on your face.

Goggles Are Better 
Goggles give better protection. You need them for work with a high risk of impact, chemical splash and fine dust. Indirect venting provides more protection. Direct venting goggles, which are less likely to fog, are used when the hazard is larger particles. Most workers requiring eye protection should be wearing goggles, says the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The Combo Hybrid 
glasses and goggles are another option for better protection. These have foam or rubber around the lens for dust and particle protection. The wraparound design may give better peripheral vision than regular goggles.

Full Face Shields
Face shields, worn over glasses or goggles, protect the full face from highest impact and from spraying, chipping, grinding and certain chemical or bloodborne hazards. Special coating may provide protection from heat and splatter.

Special work environments require other types of eye protection. Welding calls for specially tinted lenses to prevent radiation burns to the eyes, as well as face protection to prevent contact with hot metal. Electricians need safety eyewear without metal frames to prevent electrical shock, while workers in potentially explosive atmospheric conditions need eyewear made of conductive material to prevent static sparks. Fallers in the logging industry use screen face shields which provide more ventilation than plastic face shields.

And here is a tip for workers who do wear ordinary glasses to correct vision:
Regular street glasses don’t provide adequate protection from workplace safety hazards. These street glasses shatter much more easily than safety glasses and lack side protection. You need additional eye protection to wear over your regular glasses, or safety eyewear made to your prescription.

Bongarde Editorial

Bongarde Editorial

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