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According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, around 2,000 workers in the United States suffer eye injuries on the job that require medical treatment every single day. While that figure is alarming, it’s even more startling that experts estimate that the severity of those injuries can be lessened and that 90% of those injuries can be prevented altogether with the right kind of protection.
Your face’s bone structure protects your eyes from injuries caused by large objects. Your eyelashes guard your eyes against injuries from small things. Despite your body’s natural defenses, your eyes are still vulnerable to injury on the job.
Common Workplace Hazards
Nearly every workplace has hazards that can cause eye injuries. Here are some of the hazards that might be present in a given workplace:
- Airborne particles
- Small pieces of metal, glass or wood
- Equipment that emits sparks
- Flying objects
- UV light
- Chemicals and corrosive liquids
- Bloodborne pathogens
Because there are so many things that can injure or damage your eyes, it’s vital that you wear safety eyewear at work. Some people who wear eyeglasses think they already have an added layer of protection from workplace hazards, but that’s not the case. Regular prescription or fashion-only eyeglasses are not the same as OSHA safety glasses.
Whereas prescription glasses can keep you safer at work by enabling you to see better, they cannot protect you from hazards like flying debris. Safety eyewear can, however. That’s because OSHA-approved safety glasses are made to satisfy protective criteria different from regular glasses.
Characteristics of Safety Glasses
Because they’re made to a higher protective standard, safety glasses have characteristics that are different than regular fashion or prescription glasses. For example, the frames of safety glasses are much stronger than the frames of other kinds of eyewear. A pair of OSHA-approved prescription safety glasses are noticeably thicker than non-approved glasses. The lenses on safety eyeglasses are stronger than the lenses in fashion eyeglasses.
OSHA isn’t the only organization that has high standards for protective workplace eyewear. The American National Standards Institute also has benchmarks of their own. ANSI requires safety glasses to undergo what’s called a “drop-ball test.” To pass this test, the lenses in a pair of safety glasses must withstand the impact of a ball dropped from a considerable height. If the lenses shatter or crack, they are not safe enough.
Safety glasses frames must be resistant to heat. Heat resistance is necessary to prevent the lenses from being pushed into a wearer’s eyes in extreme circumstances.
Eyewear approved by OSHA and ANSI typically have markings that indicate the glasses are approved for use in the workplace. These markings are usually visible on the lenses, frames, and any accompanying eye shields. If you don’t see any relevant markings, it’s always wise to err on the side of caution and assume the glasses are not suitable to protect your eyes from injury while you’re working.
Occupations With a High Risk of Eye Injuries
While threats to your eyes are present in the workplace, some industries are riskier than others when it comes to the potential for eye injuries. Here are some verticals that have a high risk for eye injuries on the job:
- Auto mechanics
- Electrical work
Types of Safety Eye Protection
There are several kinds of safety eye protection available in the marketplace. The specific kind you’ll need to use typically depends on the task at hand. If you work in an environment that has flying particles like dust or bits of wood, you should wear safety glasses that have side shields. The shields are extremely effective at preventing debris from entering eyes from the side.
Employees working with chemicals are required to wear safety goggles. People who work near dangerous radiation caused by things like welding or lasers must wear special-purpose eyewear that’s designed for their specific duties. The required gear may be safety glasses, goggles or facial shields.
It’s vital that you remember your fashion glasses will not provide adequate protection. Even if you put side shields on conventional glasses, the shields will not be enough to guard your eyes against workplace injuries.
Maintenance Is the Key to Eye Safety
Just like your safety glasses must fit right to provide adequate protection, they must also be in good condition. If your safety glasses are cracked or scratched, or your frames are bent or distorted, you need to get new safety eyewear. When you notice your glasses are dirty, you should clean them right away. Scratched or dirty lenses can cause glare, while bent frames may result in a warped view, either of which may contribute to accidents and injuries on the job.
Order Prescription Safety Glasses Online
Whether you’re an employee shopping for yourself or you’re an employer looking to get the equipment your team needs to stay safe while working, you can order prescription safety glasses online on our website. The protective eyeglasses we sell are OSHA-approved and ready to withstand conditions in even the harshest work environments. You can shop OCHO Vision with confidence. Should your eyeglasses arrive with any defects, you can choose between a full refund or allow us to remake the eyeglasses for no additional cost. If you just don’t like the look of your new glasses, you can choose to ship them back and we’ll refund half of the cost of the glasses. A prepaid return shipping label will be supplied at no additional cost to you.
If you’re not sure which glasses will work best for you, we encourage you to contact us online or give us a call. Our knowledgeable and attentive representatives will help you find the safety glasses that are truly best for your purposes.