Tips for Choosing the Right Safety Eyewear

Thousands of people are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries. These injuries cost more the $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses, and worker compensation. More than 90% of all eye injuries could have been prevented with the proper selection and use of eye and face protection.

As with all personal protective equipment (PPE), identifying workplace hazards is one of the first steps in selecting the proper protection. Here are some hazards to consider:

  • Are hazardous liquids that could spray or splash present in the workplace?
  • Is flying debris (i.e. sawdust or metal shavings) generated in the workplace?
  • Are lasers used in the workplace?
  • Does welding or grinding take place in the workplace?
  • Does welding or grinding take place in the workplace?

To reduce the risk of these potential hazards, hazard controls should be implemented.

  • Are guards in place to control flying debris?
  • Are restricted areas established to protect bystanders?
  • Are lasers used in the workplace?
  • Are workers trained in safe work practices that prevent spraying and splashing of hazardous liquids?
  • Are workers trained in safe work practices that prevent creation of projectile hazards?

Once the hazards have been identified and controls put in place, here are some things to consider when choosing the proper safety eyewear:

  • s safety eyewear required to protect against particulates and solid materials? If so, are sideshields required?
  • Do workers need protection from harmful light radiation, such as lasers or welding arcs?
  • Do workers need safety eyewear that is compatible with other equipment, such as hearing protection, head protection, or respiratory protection?
  • Will workers need protection indoors, outdoors, or both?
  • Do workers have access to prescription lenses for vision correction, if needed?

Fashion...Fit...Function

After all the questions have been answered, you can select the proper eyewear for your workplace. Safety eyewear is available in a multitude of styles. Much of today’s safety eyewear is designed to look like ordinary sunglasses. Stylish designs help increase worker compliance. If workers like the style of the eyewear, they’re more likely to wear it.

Eyewear adjustability helps increase wearer comfort. Many styles offer adjustable temple lengths and ratcheting temples to pivot the lenses, adding comfort.

Lens colors are selected based on the working environment.

  • Clear – best for use in normal working conditions
  • Gray – protects against sunlight in outdoor applications
  • Indoor/Outdoor – great for a variety of lighting conditions, indoors and outdoors
  • Mirrored – ideal for outdoor work, and provides anti-glare protection
  • Amber – great for low light conditions, and provides enhanced contrast
  • Orange – for low light conditions, and provides enhanced contrast
  • Blue – ideal for work conditions with sodium vapor lighting and excessive glare
  • Espresso Brown – for use outdoors where sunlight and glare cause eye fatigue and strain
  • Copper Blue Block – blocks glare similar to that of a gray or mirrored lens, and provides a brighter field of vision
  • Spectrum Control Technology (SCT) – reduces ultraviolet (UV), infrared, or blue light radiation hazards around welding sites
  • Green Shade 3.0 and 5.0 – for use around welding, brazing, or cutting applications. Not for use when welding
  • Vermillion – enhances contrast for examining metal and glass products
  • Polarized – provides superior glare control for bright, sunny conditions
  • Photochromic – UV reactive lenses darken in bright outdoor light conditions

All safety eyewear tested to American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI’s) industrial impact protection is marked with Z87+ on the frames and/or lenses. Be sure the glasses you select have this mark.

For workers requiring prescription eyewear, we have a complete prescription eyewear program available. If you’d like information about this program, or if you need help choosing the right safety eyewear for your workplace, call our Technical Support Reps at 800-922-8553, or email techsupport@northernsafety.com They’ll give you the information you need to make the right selection.

Northern Safety Co., Inc.
PO Box 4250. Utica, NY 13504-4250
Phone: 1-800-571-4646
Fax: 1-800-635-1591

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