Complete eye protection in combination with safety glasses or goggles
Selecting a face shield depends on which kinds of hazards workers will be dealing with - impact, heat, radiation or chemical splash.
Face shields come in three materials: polycarbonate - which offers the highest protection against impact and heat - propionate and acetate.
It's important to understand that face shields alone do not protect employees from impact hazards. Face shields should be used in combination with safety spectacles or safety goggles even in the absence of dust or potential splashes.
The "windows" of face shields are made of different transparent materials and in varying levels of thickness. These levels should correspond with specific tasks.
Face shield window and headgear devices are available in various combinations so that workers can select the appropriate safety equipment.
Features to look for in face shields include
- ANSI Z87.1-2203 certification
- anti-scratch coating
- anti-fog coating
- adjustable ratchet headgear
- a variety of sizes.
If the worker is facing the risk of impact, OSHA regulations state that a face shield alone will not provide adequate protection. In this case, face shields need to be used in combination with safety glasses or goggles to offer complete eye protection. Face shields made of polycarbonate provide the highest level of impact protection.
Again, polycarbonate face shields offer the best basic protection against heat. However, if silver or gold coatings are added to the face shield, even further heat resistance can be achieved. A maximum heat tolerance of 1,800 F can be reached using gold-coated face shields. Silver-coated shields can provide protection up to 1,400 F.
Whether it's the result of bright lighting, the glare of the sun, electric arc exposure or laser light, a graduated scale of shadings are available for face shields that act as special absorbers against radiation. Welding masks provide a barrier to protect the face and eyes from the risks of open electric arcs and flames in the risky business of welding.
Eventually all face shields - no matter which material they are made of - will sustain damage due to chemical hazards. Hard-coated face shields offer improved chemical resistance but eventually they, too, will succumb to chemical hazards such as alkali and acids.
Molded versus die-cut face shields
Die-cut and molded face shields provide the same protection. Die-cut face shields are made of flat stock material. Molded face shields, which have a curved, smooth-edged appearance, are considered a higher-end product.