See Into the Future with Eye Protection

People have heard the phrase, "Keep your eyes on the job." It means more than just paying attention to what they are doing; it means properly wearing the correct eye protection for the job being done. The form of eye protection people choose will depend upon the activity and degree of the hazard involved.

Here are some of the basic types of eye protection:

• Safety Glasses. Safety glasses have impact resistant glass, plastic or polycarbonate lenses, and safety frames designed to prevent the lenses from being pushed into the eyes upon impact. Standard safety glasses offer basic protection from jobs where a hazard may strike from the front. When equipped with side shields or cups additional protection is given where a hazard may come from the front, side, above or below. Tinted lenses provide protection from radiation hazards.

• Safety Goggles. Goggles, also impact resistant and available in tinted lenses, provide a secure shield around the entire eye area and give protection against hazards coming from many directions. They are used in sawing, soldering and when using chemicals. Goggles with indirect ventilation may be required if one is exposed to splash hazards.

• Shields and Helmets. Face shields and helmets alone are not protective eyewear. They are frequently used in conjunction with safety glasses or goggles for chemicals, heat or radiation hazards. Helmets are most commonly used when welding or working with molten materials.

Protective eyewear can be prescription or non-prescription. Lenses can be designed to protect against specific hazards such as impact, heat or infrared/ultraviolet light radiation. Side shields will help to provide greater protection from chemical mixtures and molten metal burns.

Eyewear should fit well and be comfortable to wear. An eye care professional should do this fitting. A full range of eye, bridge and temple sizes should be available. Eye protection should not cause headaches, slip off easily or fog up. Most manufacturers now carry at least two sizes of goggles, face shields and other special equipment to accommodate workers.

Here are some other things one can do to help keep his eyes on the job:

• Encourage control of workplace eye hazards. Dust extractors, exhaust systems and screens will reduce airborne particles. Splashes of harmful liquids can be partially contained by screens, splashguards and splash trays.

• Clean protective eyewear regularly. Keep it in good condition and replace damaged lenses and loose frames immediately.

• Know where the eyewash stations are at the work site and how to use them in an emergency.

• Have vision tested regularly.

There is more to keeping people's eyes on the job than keeping them open. Keep them protected.