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Selecting Eye and Face Protection Gear That Meets Safety Regulations

Every year in the United States, there are nearly 2.5 million eye-related injuries. What's more, nearly 90% of these injuries could be completely prevented by using proper eye and face protection.

Protective eyewear is vital in certain workplaces, like shipyards, because employees are working with potentially hazardous materials that have the ability to cause serious injury or sight loss.

Here's your guide to understanding eye and face protection and how to choose the right kind for your company.

Potential Eye and Face Hazards in the Workplace

Eye and face protection is absolutely vital to protect workers against a number of different hazards that can be found on work sites. Your company should always try to maintain compliance with OSHA guidelines on PPE equipment, guidelines that we'll take a look at shortly.

Here are some of the most common eye and face hazards faced.


Large chunks of concrete, wood, or metal can splinter off and fly directly into the eyes or face of any workers nearby. It doesn't even have to be a large chunk, just the dust from a lot of these materials is enough to cause injury.


Corrosive or harmful chemicals always pose a risk to workers and every care should be taken to prevent them from coming into contact with eyes and faces. Chemicals can cause serious irritation, severe burns, and sometimes complete blindness.


If your employees are working with lasers, infrared, or any heat-emitting source, then damage to the face can occur. Welding, for example, can send a stream of sparks flying out from the welding spot. These sparks can cause serious burns or blindness if they get in the eye of a worker.

OSHA Guidelines

So what does the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) say? Their guidelines are very clear and they comply fully with recommendations from the American National Standards Institute.

First and foremost, OSHA recommends that all workers should be using protective eyewear that fits properly and is specially designed to protect against the exact hazards that the worker is facing.

Eyewear should be free of all cracks, breaks, and significant scratches that could impact their ability to protect the worker.

All employees on the site should receive full and comprehensive training in the use and importance of protective equipment and they should know how to use the equipment in an emergency.

If your employees wear eyeglasses, then their protective equipment should fit comfortably and safely over them. Workers who wear contact lenses should also wear protective glasses to protect their eyes from contaminants.

Face shields are not deemed completely safe and effective on their own. They should be used in conjunction with protective glasses or goggles.

Eye and Face Protection By Type

Depending on the job that your workers are doing, they will need different types of eye and face protection. Do not assume that one pair of goggles is good for every type of job.

Let's take a look at some of the most common types of eye and face protection and go through what you need to look for when selecting a pair.

General Safety Goggles

General safety goggles are the minimum level of eye protection for most jobs and they are not particularly specialized for any specific job. They work well in conjunction with a face shield to provide an extra layer of protection for workers.

Good general safety goggles must have side shields to completely protect the eyes. They can also be a one-piece lens that wraps all the way around the temples.

General safety goggles are not recommended for use for specialized jobs and they do a poor job of protecting against splashes. They should only be used with materials and chemicals that aren't likely to cause any serious damage to the eye.

Laser Safety Glasses

Laser safety glasses are there to protect workers' eyes from the potential hazards of working with lasers and other forms of radiation. The type of laser glasses that you choose to buy should be based on the power and wavelength of the specific laser.

While the glasses are effective at protecting against lasers, any work done with very powerful lasers should be done using more comprehensive laser safety goggles that are chunkier and offer greater protection.

Chemical Goggles

Chemical splash goggles are there to protect the eyes from coming into contact with any hazardous chemicals while at work. They are recommended for use anytime when there is even the slightest risk of chemicals or other harmful liquids reaching the eyes of the worker.

Chemical splash goggles are similar in design to impact goggles (which we'll look at next) and can provide some form of protection against debris and dust as well as chemicals.

Impact Goggles

Impact goggles are there to protect workers from flying chunks of debris or dust that could cause injury or sight loss if they come into contact with the eyes. They are thick and cover the entire upper face area.

One thing to remember is that although chemical splash goggles can be used as impact goggles, impact goggles cannot be used as chemical splash goggles. Most impact goggles have ventilation holes built into them that would easily allow chemicals or other liquids to seep through and cause damage.

Full Face Shields

Finally, we have full face shields. This is to protect a greater area of the face when working with chemicals, heat sources, or when there is the potential for debris to fly around.

Full face shields are not classed as adequate protection on their own and should be worn with either impact goggles or chemical splash goggles.

Stay Compliant

Eye and face protection is a vital part of many industrial work environments. You can't have staff going out to work underequipped and at risk of injury or maybe even complete sight loss.

Staying on top of safety regulations and keeping your company as compliant as possible can be difficult and confusing. Let the experts help you out. Speak to us today at Compliance Training Online to take your compliance to the next level.



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