Safety Glasses: 4 Things to Keep in Mind When Selecting and Using

With nearly 2,000 construction and manufacturing employees suffering from eye injuries annually, it’s important to note the role of safety glasses. Proper selection of the safety glasses is important to ensure the glasses fit the job. However, ensuring the glasses are used and maintained is far more important.


Here are 4 Things to Keep in Mind When Selecting and Using Safety Glasses


  1. The best way to assure you have selected eye wear properly is to make sure it is marked with “Z87.1” “Z87” or “Z87+” – meaning they meet the government standard Z87.  This will ensure that your safety glasses will hold up to a one-quarter inch steel ball at the speed of 150 feet per second. Side shields are required and come on all glasses that meet the Z87 standard.
  2. 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.
  3. Fogging is a common issue with safety glasses. Obtain a cleaning solution to minimize or eliminate fogging and keep the solution where employees can access it easily. Keeping the solution in an easily accessible and visible place can help employees remember to maintain their safety glasses.
  4. 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.

A common complaint among employers is that employees simply won’t wear the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – even after they’ve been trained and told to do so. One of the biggest reasons stems from the company culture. Is the work culture focused solely on productivity or is safety held equally as important? If an employee were to leave their work station to clean their safety glasses, how would the supervisor or foreman respond?

The way management responds when employees are working unsafely can say a lot about the culture. If the company wants to prevent injuries on the job site, take the time to stop workers and help them find a way to mitigate risk associated with the task. This can be as simple as having the employee stop to put on proper PPE. A step that takes only a few minutes can save an employee from a serious injury resulting in loss of eye sight.


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