Sealing in safety - goggles are a primary defense against eye injuries
You may wonder what the difference is between safety glasses and safety goggles; to help distinguish between the two, here's a comparison:
Imagine you are snorkeling in the ocean; which method will keep your eyes dry: wearing a pair of sunglasses underwater - or wearing a snorkel mask that has an airtight seal around your eyes?
Obviously the mask with the airtight seal - and the same principle applies to safety goggles. That's because safety goggles provide complete eye coverage, with a sealed rim around the eyes, whereas safety glasses simply shield the eyes from front and side impact.
Despite their differences, safety goggles and safety glasses are both the primary defense against eye injuries, according to OSHA. And while safety goggles offer eye protection from a broader range of hazards, both safety glasses and goggles are considered the correct safety equipment for eyes in certain situations.
Safety goggles are the best choice when dealing with the following factors.
- Impact: from flying fragments, objects, chips and particles.
- Dust: safety goggles are the only effective defense.
- Chemicals: liquid or chemical mists, splashes, vapors and fumes.
- Heat: for extremely high temperatures, a secondary face shield may be needed.
Lenses treated with anti-fog coatings, combined with plenty of ventilation slots, prevent safety goggles from fogging up. The lenses should also be scratch-resistant and shatter-proof for extra vision and eye protection. Most types of safety goggles are made out of transparent, high-impact, molded polycarbonate material.
A well-fitting pair of safety goggles allows you to have an unimpeded view. Suitable molding or covers at the sides ensure that any flying particles such as chips, burrs and dirt do not hit the eye from the sides.
Most types of safety goggles are designed to fit over a pair of eye glasses or, if you prefer, you can have prescription lenses custom-made for your safety goggles.
As with any visual aid, safety goggles need to be kept clean to ensure good visibility. After all, if you can't see, you can't work safely.
Types of safety goggles
Safety goggles come in many shapes and sizes for a wide variety of applications, everything from lab goggles to ballistic military goggles:
- Fire and rescue goggles: Designed for forest fire fighting, EMT personnel and rescue operations, these goggles are ANSI Z87.1-compliant. Some fire and rescue goggles are designed for use on structural fire fighting helmets.
- Welding goggles : ANSI Z87.1-2003 certified; designed for welding or cutting applications.
- Perforated goggles: ANSI Z87.1-2003 certified; maximum ventilation to help prevent fogging. Suitable for protection from large flying debris such as grinding or saw dust.
- Splash goggles: ANSI Z87.1-2003 certified; ventless design or covered vents help protect the wearer from liquid splash.
- Painter's goggles: ANSI Z87.1-2003 certified; tear-off lenses for quick, easy clean-up.