Tips for Choosing the Best PPE Safety Glasses, Goggles, and Eyewear
Every year, more than
300,000 people go to the emergency room for workplace eye injuries. Of those injuries, roughly 1,250 take place in hospitality professions and another 1,800 in healthcare; however, 40% of on-the-job eye injuries occur in mining, construction, and manufacturing jobs. In fact, the CDC states that over 2,000 job-related eye injuries occur each and every day.
Many on-the-job eye injuries are minor, resulting in no more than a day or two of lost work, at most. That said, there are always exceptions to the rule; it is not worth taking the risk.
Up to 90% of workplace eye injuries are preventable with protective eyewear.
Read on to learn the basics about choosing the best safety eyewear to protect your number-one asset:
How Do Eye Injuries Occur at Work?
In order to choose the right safety eyewear for your job, you need to understand the potential risks to your vision. The majority of eye injuries result from small objects or particles striking or scraping the eye. This includes things like dust, slivers of metal, and wood chips that are ejected from tools or blown by the wind.
Large objects striking the face can also cause blunt-force trauma and eye injury.
A more serious version of this is penetration by nails, staples, or slivers of metal or wood that enter the eye, resulting in a more significant injury or permanent vision loss.
Other potential causes of eye injury on the job include chemical and thermal burns, as well as transmission of eye diseases. Industrial-strength cleaning products and other chemicals can cause burns to the eye and exposure to blood splashes and airborne droplets can transmit eye disease.
What to Look for in Safety Eyewear (Tips)
Sunglasses protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays, but their benefits do not go much further. Safety eyewear is specifically designed to protect both the internal and external structures of the eye and should meet certain standards.
You need to consider the
types of hazards you will be exposed to. For example, if you work in an area with a lot of dust and flying objects or particles, you will need safety glasses that have side protection. When working with chemicals and other hazardous substances, it is best to wear goggles. If you work near hazardous radiation (such as lasers or welding), you may need special-purpose safety glasses or goggles.
Here are some important
things to consider when shopping for safety eyewear:
- Lens Type Most safety glasses are made from glass, plastic, or polycarbonate. The strongest of these is polycarbonate because it is more impact- and scratch-resistant while being lightweight.
- Lens Technology When it comes to safety eyewear, the lens is the only thing between your eye and potential hazards. Safety eyewear should utilize the most modern lens technology to offer optimal clarity and impact resistance with protection from UVA and UVB rays.
- Coating Not all lens coatings are created equally and certain types of coating don't offer the flexibility to be applied to different sides of the lens. Lens coatings offer additional protection from fog, scratches, and UV rays.
- Prescription/Non-Prescription If you wear safety eyewear most of the time at work, you may want to look into getting prescription glasses to avoid having to wear two pairs.
- Fit Architecture Properly fitting eyewear enhances both comfort and protection. A secure fit is essential to protect against windblown debris, but the eyewear should still be free of pressure points while remaining snug enough not to slip.
- Impact Resistance When working around dust and chemicals, it is a good idea to wear impact-resistant eyewear like goggles to protect your eyes against splash and impact.
- Full Face Shield These are often used in conjunction with safety glasses to protect against chemicals, heat, and blood-borne pathogens.
- Specialized Protection Some safety glasses and goggles are treated with special filters or other substances to protect against additional dangers like radiation exposure.
Workers should wear safety eyewear whenever there is a chance of injury. The safest way to interpret this advice is to wear safety eyewear every time you are on the job.
Recommended Products for Eye Protection
Here are our top recommendations for the best products for on-site eye protection:
- Edge Safety Eyewear Zorge G2 Safety Glasses Featuring polycarbonate lenses and lightweight, flexible Edge Frames, these safety glasses are strong and durable. The lenses are interchangeable and protect against UVA, UVB, and UVC rays.
- Hexarmor Safety Eyewear MX200g TruShield-S For a higher degree of protection, these glasses feature a removable foam guard for multi-application use. They also offer optimal eye ventilation and a contoured nose bridge for comfort and fit.
- Edge Eyewear Safety Goggles Made with polycarbonate lenses coated with a special anti-scratch layer, these safety goggles are designed for all day, everyday wear. The frames are lightweight, flexible, and shatter-resistant while still being very comfortable to wear.
- Elvex Go-Specs II These specs are a hybrid of the top safety glasses and goggle features, offering the ultimate in comfort and protection for multiple applications. They can be used indoors or outdoors to protect against dust, chemicals, heat, and more.
- Edge Eyewear Dakura Anti-Fog Safety Glasses Made with Dakura Anti-Fog Polycarbonate lenses, these glasses drive away fog and steam, so you never have to worry about blocked vision when changing climates. Plus, they are coated with a special anti-scratch layer.
Top Safety Eyewear Products by Category
Safety Glasses and Shields
- Pyramex Ztek Eyewear These lightweight, one-piece polycarbonate spectacles come in clear, amber, or gray with optional anti-fog coating, and are designed for wrap-around visibility.
- Edge KHOR Safety Glasses Both stylish and safe, these glasses feature interchangeable lenses with ANSI Z87.1+2010 ratings and offer UVA, UVB, and UVC protection.
- Elvex Go-Specs With an impact-resistant molded lens and SuperCoat anti-fog coating, these specs protect against windblown particles while still being comfortable to wear.
- HexArmor VS300 TruShield 2F Glasses With soft earpieces to ensure a stable, low-pressure fit, these glasses are comfortable, rated for impact, and treated to resist fog and scratches.
- Elvex Premium Molded Lexan Face Shield This polycarbonate face shield is clear for full visibility and features a universal hole pattern to fit all Elvex carriers and most headgear.
Safety Eyewear Accessories
- HexArmor Eyewear Lanyard Keep your safety eyewear close at hand with this lightweight lanyard that fits most standard frames and features an adjustable slider bead for a custom fit.
- Edge Safety Sunglasses Leash Also known as a croakie, this leash is ideal for keeping your safety eyewear close at hand so you can access it in an instant.
- Elvex UltiMate Headgear System Complete with ratchet adjustment and sweatband, this headgear system is designed to hold face shields, visors, and mesh screens in place for comfortable all-day wear with two swivel points for a secure fit.
- Edge Safety Eyewear Foam Gasket Kit This easy-to-apply foam gasket lining is self-adhesive and comes with an anti-fog spray to help you achieve maximum protection from wind and dust.
Eyewear Cleaning Solutions
Your safety eyewear will only perform at its peak if you keep it cleaned and maintained. Here are some of the top products on the market for cleaning your safety eyewear:
- HexArmor Lens Cleaning Station Keep your entire workforce's safety eyewear clean and in good repair with this lens cleaning station, stocked with cleaning fluid and lens wipes. Note that HexArmor glasses cannot use a traditional cleaning wipe!
- MCR Safety Glasses Cleaning Wipes Load a couple of these pre-moistened lens cleaning wipes in your work bag to keep your safety glasses clean at all times.
- HexArmor Lens Cleaning Fluid This lens cleaning fluid is specially designed not to interfere with HexArmor's proprietary coatings in the way standard alcohol wipes can.
- HexArmor Lens Cleaning Wipes Designed for all lens types, these cleaning wipes are individually sealed and designed to perform to the highest standard.
A Final Word on Eye Safety Equipment
Keep in mind that different types of eyewear may be recommended for different situations. Take what you have learned here and use it to select the best eyewear for your job in all of its varying conditions.
40% of on-the-job eye injuries occur in mining, construction, and manufacturing jobs. 90% of these are preventable with protective eyewear.