Remove at your own risk: The importance of safety eyewear

Most people who need to wear safety eyewear are aware of the main dangers their glasses protect them from. However, Khurram Akhtar, Director – Sales & Products at Supertouch, identifies some of the less obvious risks it’s worth knowing about.

It is well-known that safety eyewear helps to prevent dust and debris entering the eye, which can cause distraction, irritation and at worst, permanently damage the sensitive outer layer of the cornea. Foreign objects, such as splinters or shards of glass, pose an increased risk for those working within a number of different applications, from electricians and plumbers, through to construction site workers.

Safety eyewear is considered an essential item of PPE in laboratories and should always be worn in environments where hazardous or contaminated liquids are a problem. However, chemical splashes can also be common in areas outside of the lab too. For example, when a domestic plumber is called to a blocked pipe, more often than not they will find that the homeowner has already tried to remedy the blockage by flooding the pipe with bleach and other caustic agents. Should the plumber then unknowingly open the pipe without adequate eye protection, there is a risk of splashback, which could have painful and damaging consequences. Scenarios like these pose a real, but perhaps unexpected, threat – reinforcing that it pays to be cautious and prepared when it comes to your PPE.

For some industries, such as food and beverage, safety eyewear work the other way round too. Here, wearing safety eyewear is not only necessary to stop food particles or liquids entering the eye, but it also prevents bacteria and bodily fluids from the eyes contaminating the production line. Safety eyewear should therefore be kept on at all times, in order to protect both the eyes and the products.

In addition, safety eyewear acts as a defence against harmful UVA and UVB rays, which has been linked as a contributing factor to cataracts disease. However, as technology advances, people are now being exposed to even more new dangers in their everyday jobs – such as lasers and Infra-Red radiation. It is important to therefore always ensure your safety eyewear features lenses designed with these risks in mind.

For example, Shade 3 and Shade 5 Green lenses from the Pyramex range feature an Infra-Red (IR) filter, and are commonly used in gas welding applications. These allow very small levels of visible light through the lens, while blocking almost all UV, IR and Blue Light, giving the welder complete protection from the process. In addition, despite not being an obvious scenario in which safety eyewear would be helpful, those who spend lots of time driving for their job would also benefit from wearing amber lenses. Inclement weather often creates dangerous driving conditions, with low levels of light, but amber lenses help to enhance contrast and make everything visually more distinct.

It is clear to see that safety goggles and glasses provide protection against much more than meets the eye. In order to stay safe, ensure you know the threats in your working environment and are adequately protected against them.

For more information about the Pyramex range of protective eyewear or, to discover more about a wide-range of PPE and workwear available at Supertouch please call 0345 130 9922 or visit: