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Home :: Personal Protective Equipment :: Eye Protection

Eye Protection

Eyewear is essential for protecting your vision from small particles, chemicals, knocks and hot substances, by wearing safety glasses or goggles. Providing yourself or your workforce with the appropriate eye protection reduces the risk and severity of an eye injury.

Even when you get something silly in your eye, it can prove to be irritating and distracting, and wearing eye protection when carrying out dust-producing tasks is important. Of course, in extreme cases, this can cause partial or complete loss of vision. This is why the eyewear you choose must conform to standard EN 166 to ensure they meet the basic requirements.

However, for specific hazards, you need to ensure the eyewear is up to meeting those tough demands, and these are identified via markings on the lenses and frames. These mean the glasses or goggles have undergone rigorous tests of which they have passed.

Potential Hazards

Carrying out a risk assessment is the best way of knowing the specific risks which are present in the workplace. This informs you of where the potential dangers are, the tasks they’re associated with, and people who are most at risk.

People operating power tools and machinery in industrial and manufacturing environments are where the biggest risks lie. These have the potential for debris and chippings which can find their way into the eye, while those working with chemicals risk splashes.

Other hazards can include molten metals, radiant heat, hot liquids, intense light or optical radiation. With these, the lenses and frames work in unison to against these to protect the wearer.

Lens Protection

Separated into different classes, these give guidelines for how long they are suitable to be worn for.

Class 1 is suitable for continuous work,

Class 2 for intermittent work,

Class 3 for occasional work.

As such, Class 1 can be worn for how shifts, while Class 3 should only be worn as required for specific tasks.

And their mechanical properties are recognised with letters – for both the lenses and frames.

A – High energy impact (190m/sec).

B – Medium energy impact (120m/sec) Grade 1

F – Low energy impact (45m/sec) Grade 2.

S – Increased robustness (General purpose).

T – Increased robustness at extremes of temperature.

Other Standards

For those specific risks, there are additional European standards which you must be aware of to ensure the safety glasses and goggles you choose are truly up to the job.

EN 169 – Welding Filters.

EN 170 – Ultra-Violet Filters.

EN 171 – Infra-red Filters.

EN 172 – Solar Protection Filters for Industrial Use.

EN 175 – Welding Work Equipment. EN 207 – Laser Protection Eyewear.

EN 208 – Laser Adjustment Eyewear.

Your Specific Needs

Also, keep in mind the specific needs you have. For example, if you have prescription glasses, then you’ll want to consider overspec goggles. Or for harsh environments, you’ll want to ensure they have an anti-scratch treatment to prevent superficial damage which impairs vision, identified with the letter K.

And for mist-treatment which prevents the formation of condensation on the glasses in cold or humid environments, these are identified with the letter N.