Safety Glasses

See the light on eye safety

Eyes can be damaged by a number of elements, and eye safety is often neglected in the workplace. Every year, there are half a million eye injuries in the U.S., and 90 percent of them could have been prevented or reduced with proper eye protection. Proper safety glasses should stand up to all of the most common causes of eye injury in the workplace: flying objects, tools, particles, chemicals and harmful radiation. Machines that expose workers to these risks often have guarding or work screens, but these shields should be combined with suitable safety goggles to avoid eye injury.

Advertiser Links for Safety Glasses

About Safety Eyewear

The most basic safety glasses should have side protection and be made of durable material that will not interfere with your field of vision. Although glass lenses are more difficult to scratch, they do not stand up to impact like plastic or polycarbonate. In fact, many experts recommend safety glasses that are constructed from polycarbonate, as this material is stronger than glass or plastic, lightweight and often has built-in UV radiation protection. The lens color can vary, but this does not necessarily indicate their level of UV protection.

Protective eyewear is divided into classes according to the type of job it should be used for. Simple plastic glasses work fine for jobs that bring very minimal risk of eye injury, goggles with thicker lenses and full side protection are adequate for flying particles, and face shields are necessary for anybody who works with optical radiation. To determine the correct class for you, consult an OSHA safety manual or the material safety data sheets that pertain to your work.

Proper Use and Maintenance of Safety Glasses

First of all, your safety glasses must fit your face correctly in order to function well. Just as poor-fitting face masks will do little to guard against harmful fumes, your eyes will be exposed to any hazards in front of them if your glasses don't sit snugly. Each pair of glasses should be tailored to the individual: the frames should be as close to the face as possible and should rest easily on the bridge of the nose. If you typically wear corrective glasses, you can find prescription safety glasses that are made from plastic or polycarbonate and offer the same protection as traditional safety goggles.

Keep in mind that scratches will weaken the lenses and impair your vision, so you should take good care of your safety glasses. Clean them daily, store them in a clean, dry place and be sure to replace cracked or otherwise damaged glasses with identical parts from the original manufacturer.