Protecting your eyes at work is critical. With the goal of getting the most from your safety eyewear, have you considered all the options available to not only help protect your eyes while on the job but also provide comfort and compliance to local safety standards as well? Let’s take a look…
Unfortunately, eye injuries are not uncommon. According to 2018 data from the NIOSH Work-Related Injury Statistics Query System, workers face injuries such as:
- Foreign body – dust particles suspended in air, flux materials used in certain welding/soldering/brazing, metal fumes, and smoke generated during arc welding
- Contusions and abrasions – flying particles have mass and velocity that impact the eye, piercing and cutting trauma, bumping into a fixed object, or struck by machinery
- Contact with chemicals – splash and droplets, incidental exposure to water, paint, and other chemicals
- Radiation – exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, welding light, visible light, infrared (IR) light.
What Eyewear Model Options are Available that Can Help Workers Achieve More Comfort?
However, there are protective eyewear models available from reputable manufacturers that have many features and benefits that not only help protect workers but can also increase the comfort level, including:
- Flat, flexible temples that self-adjust to the wearer’s head, providing a comfortable, secure fit.
- Lightweight and comfortable fit for extended periods of time.
- Wraparound frameless lenses.
- Ratcheting temples to help get the best lens angle.
- Molded or soft nose piece options.
- Different coatings for a wide variety of purposes, including premium anti-fog performance and anti-scratch.
- Multiple lens colors, including Gray IR and mirror, as well as lens colors for protection against various types of visible light.
- Removable foam gaskets, which can add additional protection from debris when goggles are not needed.
What is Eye Protection Fit Testing?
Many people do not realize that although fit testing exists for hearing protection and respiratory protection, there are also simple procedures for eye protection fit testing that could be used. The better the fit, the better the protection from the hazards that the workers may be exposed to while on the job.
Selection – Select eyewear based on a completed hazard assessment and have more than one option available for fit testing.
Ergonomics – Check if eyewear is comfortable for the wearer.
View – You should confirm that the wearer can see in all directions of eye rotation without major obstruction to the field of view necessary to perform work tasks.
Security – Check that the eyewear stays in place on the wearer’s head and does not fall off with head movement.
Coverage – Coverage gauges can assess how well the eyewear shields the soft tissue area around the eyes.
Gaps – Gap gauges help identify excessive space between eyewear and the face—gaps that can open up a path for flying debris.
Ergonomic Re-check – Check that eyewear is still comfortable for the wearer.
Recordkeeping – Keep a completed evaluation form on file for future orders and compliance requirements.
It is important to verify the wearer has been trained on the proper use, donning/doffing, maintenance, and limitations of safety eyewear. The worker should wear their safety eyewear in the manner it was designed to be worn during all required functions and tasks. Also, ensure the worker is trained on site-specific procedures such as cleaning and storage of eyewear.
 NIOSH Work-Related Injury Statistics Query System (Work-RISQS), 2018 data, www.cdc.gov