Safety Glasses - The What, Where Why and When of Eye Protection
The Importance of Eye and Face Protection
While it's important to protect your eyes from the sun, it is just as important if not more to protect your eyes from hazards on the job. Eye safety is an important topic among construction and manufacturing workers. Anyone engaged in activity involving the use of saws, power tools, sanders or other equipment that may release airborne particles is at risk for eye injury.
Statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Labor suggest thousands of consumers and employees suffer from eye injuries every year, many resulting from work related injuries incurred when workers used inadequate eye or face protection. Such injuries may result in blindness and thousands of dollars in lost production time and medical expenses.
Eye injuries in the workplace typically result in up to 20% of temporary and permanent vision loss among workers. While workplace injuries are common, there are easy to use tools available for preventing eye injury. The most common hazards associated with eye injuries on the job include:
It is just important employees and employers understand the potential benefits wearing adequate eye protection have. Eye protection and safety glasses generally fall under the category of PPE or personal protective equipment, and generally serve to protect workers and consumers from hazards exposed to on the job.
- Airborne particles or bits of metal, glass or wood
- Tools and power equipment that elicit sparks
- Flying objects
- Radiation or UV light
- Chemicals or other corrosive substances that may spray and damage vision
Cost Effective Solutions to Eye Injuries
Fortunately there is a simple and cost effective solution to help minimize the risk you will injure your eyes on the job. Safety goggles and glasses provide ample coverage to help protect your eyes while still enabling you to see what you need to get the job done.
Safety glasses come with an assortment of unique features. Some for example include polycarbonate lenses or frames. Still others are fitted or incorporate a full shield for the face if the user is engaged in particularly hazardous work. Still others enable the user to wear their prescription lenses or incorporate prescription lenses into the safety lenses. These safety frames typically are far more durable than conventional prescription lenses.
Most safety glasses must adhere to standards established by ANSI. These include passing a drop ball test, which includes dropping a ball directly onto the lenses from a designated height. There are actually various standards relevant to the type of safety glasses selected. Some are suitable for high impact activities while others suitable for lesser degrees of impact.
Selecting The Right Safety Glasses
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides guidelines for selecting the right type of lenses for safety glasses depending on the type of work you are involved in. Protective eyewear standards generally vary from employer to employer. While some work environments may require use of safety glasses still others may require a full shield. Your employer should investigate eye protection and face protection and provide all employees with adequate supplies and training regarding their use to meet with OSHA standards.
Remember when it comes to eye safety prevention is key. You can easily protect your eyes from injury by following these steps:
- Become aware of any dangers existing in your workplace.
- Understand how to use safety glasses.
- Decide on appropriate eye protection by consulting OSHA and your employer.
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