Ever see a worker covered with dirt at the end of a long day and notice clean circles around their eyes indicating where safety glasses or goggles have been? This image provides a powerful reminder of how vital eye protection is; a slip-up that leaves only a stain on a uniform or a nick on a work glove can cause a life-altering injury to an unprotected eye.
Finding the right eyewear to protect your employees is essential, not only because of the valuable and fragile nature of the eyes, but because eye protection usage is easy to monitor and provides a visible statement of a company’s safety culture. Because every job is different, even individuals with the same job description may face different hazards based on their location within the workplace.
Because of the many variables at a given worksite, a physical walkthrough or hazard assessment is vital to any safety program audit. As you begin, look and listen for sparks, chips or particles that could present an impact hazard, and be aware of stationary objects employees could run into. If impact hazards are prevalent, eye protection is a must.
Although all eyeglasses are impact-resistant, industrial protective eyewear must meet a more stringent standard, ANSI Z87.1, and must be marked with “Z87” on every major component. Where impacts are an identified hazard, impact-rated eye protection is required, and these products will carry Z87+ markings to indicate their higher impact strength. In more extreme conditions, ballistic performance according to the military eyewear standard, MIL V0, may be appropriate.
Most protectors, like spectacles, fall into a category known as “plano” eyewear; this means the lenses do not have an optical correction. Technology allows manufacturers to offer modern designs with wraparoundstyle plano lenses that offer comprehensive angular protection in styles employees will want to wear. For those requiring prescription eyewear, many plastic and metal spectacles are available with detachable side shields that provide the needed lateral protection.
Among the articles in the November 2020 issue of ISHN Magazine, we discuss what smart factory really means, delve into the perils of water damage, learn how to prevent eye injuries, and take a deep dive into silicosis dangers when working with quartz.