Look for a good fit and shatterproof lenses
Protecting the eyes of workers is a critical component of safety equipment that must be kept in good working order and adequate supply.
The first step in choosing the right eye protection is to assess the hazards you may face. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), safety glasses are the right choice of eye protection if you are dealing with impact from flying objects and particles, heat, glare or optical radiation.
In the case of impact hazards, OSHA regulations state that face shields must be worn in conjunction with safety glasses (or goggles) to offer complete eye protection.
In the case of chemical hazards or dust, only safety goggles - not glasses - should be used.
All safety glasses need to meet OSHA regulations and be compliant with the ANSI Z87.1 standard. What that means is that you should look for the following features in your safety glasses:
- Metal or plastic frames
- Impact-resistant lenses (can be flat or curved)
- Side shields (if there is a risk of impact from flying particles)
- Comfort and good fit
- Manufacturer's name clearly identified.
When side shields are a must
If you are working in an environment that puts you at risk of flying objects or any kind of impact risk, your safety glasses must have side shields. Safety glasses side shields can be detachable or permanently attached, in which case they are also known as safety spectacles.
Whether the worker owns the safety glasses or they are supplied by the boss, employers are responsible for ensuring that safety glasses are properly maintained at all times and sanitized before sharing the glasses between workers.
Safety glasses that meet OSHA standards range in price from $1 a pair to $150 or more. Here are some of the "extras" that will increase the price significantly:
- Anti-scratch lenses
- Anti-fog lenses
- Tinted lenses
- Prescription lenses.
A comfortable, well-fitting pair of safety glasses is a safer pair. A good fit means you won't run the risk of having your safety glasses slip down your nose, exposing your eyes to hazards, or even worse, falling off your face as flying particles surround you.