Safety Glasses

“Hey, Chuck, do you have any more safety glasses?

What are you doing, eating them?

No.  When they are scratched enough so that I can’t really see anymore, I see you.

Chuck knows that he has to provide the employees with safety eyewear on this job.  It sounds like he has trouble keeping safety glasses in stock.  Has he purchased the correct safety glasses for this job?

When you are preparing for the job, you or your safety professional should conduct a Job Hazard Analysis.  Particular attention should be paid to the PPE you will provide.  It should be selected based on the working conditions, tasks and hazards associated with the work.  The law requires you to provide the PPE, but the PPE selected must be adequate for the job.  In this case, it seems like the safety glasses purchased by the project are not holding up very long.

OSHA 1926.102(a)(1)

Employees shall be provided with eye and face protection equipment when machines or operations present potential eye or face injury from physical, chemical, or radiation agents.

OSHA 1910.133(a)(1)

The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.

This could be a problem with the type and quality of glasses selected, or conditions that were not anticipated.  When something is not working out like you expected, reevaluate the conditions and select something that will work better.  Include the safety professional and vendors when selecting PPE.  You may want to try a few different types of eyewear and get some feedback from the field before committing to a large order.

According to government statistics, about 2,000 workers suffer eye injuries every day.  These range from dust particles, shavings, cement, slag and rebounding nails.  That is why it is important to have safety glasses that employees will wear all the time.  It is not only the work an individual is performing; it is also work of those around.  For this reason, many projects establish rules that require eye wear upon entering the site.  A program requiring safety eye wear 100% of the time eliminates the discussion of “I didn’t know I needed them when I wasn’t doing something that could hurt my eyes.”

There are many options when choosing eye wear.  Don’t forget the other stuff though.  Cleaning stations provide the proper solution and wipes to properly care for the eye wear.  A lot of times the lenses get scratched from dirt on a wipe.  Fogging is another issue.  Obtain a solution that helps eliminate or minimize fogging of the glasses.

The best way to assure you have selected eye wear properly is to make sure it is marked as meeting the government standard Z87.  This means the eye wear was tested for impact resistance caused by fast travelli9ng objects as well as heavy objects.  Side shields are required and come on all glasses that meet the Z87 standard.

There are different lens shades and colors available.  Depending on your working conditions, you may select shades that work well in the sun or in more dimly lighted locations.  Hot work requires more stringent controls.  Workers using cutting torches must have lenses with a shade rating of 1.5 to 3.  You know that welding lenses are usually 10 to 12 shade.

Safety eye wear needs to be inspected daily.  Glasses with cracked frames or lenses need to be replaced.  If scratched so that it interferes with work, replace them.  Glasses can last a long time if they are cared for properly.  They should be treated with care, not thrown into a gang box.  Use the wrapper they came in, get a case or keep in a clean pocket to maintain the glasses in good condition.

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