Workplace accidents causing eye injuries are common. Therefore, it is important to invest in eye protection safety when working in hazardous environments. In general, damage and injuries occur due to the open exposure of the eyes to adverse conditions.
As long as the eyes are sufficiently covered using safety glasses or goggles, the eyes will be shielded from danger. In general, safety goggles provide more protection than safety glasses. For industrial settings with high velocity debris, safety goggles are recommended. Safety glasses can withstand an impact from a steel ball traveling at 150 fps.1
If you are uncertain about the right protection for your workplace, you should consider this short discussion on eye safety.
Understand the Potential Hazards
When choosing your protective eye gear, it is important to understand your work environment and the potential hazards.
The dangers will depend on the type of operations that are carried out in your residential, commercial or industrial premises.
The most common forms of hazards are solid objects and particles. Solid projectiles can cause irreversible harm to the eye tissues, and the damage could escalate into infections and even vision loss.
The common projectiles that could be dangerous include concrete, metal, wood and tools. You should also note that particles of dust or similar contaminants will injure the eyes by abrading the cornea.
Chemicals will have a dangerous effect on your eyes, and continuous exposure will lead to long-term degradation of the tissues. You will need to guard against splashes of liquid compounds and fumes from vaporized chemicals.
Radiation is a hazard which is often ignored in the workplace because its immediate impact is not as prominent as chemicals or solid projectiles. Unfortunately, radiation in the form infrared radiation, ultraviolet light and visible light will increase the risk of vision loss over time.
If you work in a laboratory or hospital, you will need to guard against infections pathogens. Disease-causing microorganisms can infiltrate eyes through blood and other body fluids.
Prevent Eye Damage
Your eye protection safety plan for your workplace should begin by evaluating the worksite and understanding the specific hazards. Then, you should eliminate dangers which can be avoided before starting work.
For instance, you can limit the risks posed by projectiles in industrial spaces by using screen protection, machine guarding and engineering controls.
Finally, you must choose the right eye gear for personal protection.
Choosing Your Protection
There are two primary types of protective eyewear for workplace applications: safety glasses and safety goggles.
Both of these are beneficial for shielding, but they are not both suitable for all applications. It is important to make a comparison before choosing the best item for your needs.
For most workplaces, safety glasses will suffice for worker eye protection. In general, this type of gear is designed to provide impact protection from solid projectiles.
If you need to keep your eyes safe from flying objects and debris when working, you should opt for eye glasses.
Typically, the lenses and the frames are tested to withstand tough objects like steel balls. Therefore, you do not need to be concerned about eye injuries.
It is also important to note that safety glasses are comfortable for long-term wear.
Safety goggles provide superior, all-round protection against workplace hazards. In addition to solid projectiles, this type of eyewear will keep the eyes safe from small particles, liquids and fumes.
Unlike safety glasses, goggles do not have gaps around the bottom, top and sides. Instead, the eyewear will form a tight seal around eye area of the face.
Safety goggles are ideal if you are concerned about chemical exposure, infectious pathogens, metal filings and dust.
There are different types of safety goggles on the market: direct vent, indirect vent and unvented goggles.
You must choose the right protective product to guarantee optimal protection in your workplace.
Lab Safety Goggles:
The protective eyewear is designed with multiple perforations to allow for ventilation. The holes prevent fogging of the goggles.
Unfortunately, the design limits the protection provided against small particles, liquids and vapor. Many labs do not use direct vent safety goggles because of the potential for fumes to enter through vents. For these types of labs, indirect vent goggles offer superior protection.
Indirect Vent Goggles:
Like the direct vent eyewear, these have perforations. However, the venting holes are covered, limiting the flow of liquids and particles.
The ventilation will provide vapor protection, but the effectiveness will be limited.
However, the eyewear will be susceptible to fogging. Choose anti-fog lens to minimize the rate of clouding.