The Importance of Eyewear in Occupational Safety
Many occupations involve activities that present hazards to the eyes. The most obvious one is likely welding – it is well-known that the light created from arc welding can cause blindness. Other occupations that require eye protection aren’t as easy to spot. Glassworkers need protection from both brightness and airborne debris, those who work with lasers need to keep the concentrated light out of their eyes, and medical workers need eyewear to block x-rays and other radiation. Here are some of the ways these and other workers protect their eyes:
Welding presents a variety of hazards to vision. It creates IR (infrared) energy, UV (ultraviolet) light, and extreme levels of visible light. Eye protection for welders must block all of these forms of light-based radiation in order to be sufficient.
There are several types of eyewear that can be used for welding jobs. The most minimal is a pair of flip-up shields that fit directly onto regular glasses. These are useful for people who usually don’t have to weld, and when they do, will spend only a short time at the task. People who do more welding are better off with welding goggles, which provide coverage all around the sides of the unit as well as in front.
People who weld all day long typically want a more robust form of coverage – the welder’s helmet.This headgear protects the eyes from light damage, but that’s just the start. It also covers the entire face so that sparks and debris can’t fly up and cause burns.
Even though green is the standard color for the glass used in welding eyewear, it isn’t the only one available. Welders can choose from gold mirrored and cobalt blue as well as the green. Specialty welding filters are also available.
Working with glass presents some unique challenges when it comes to protecting the eyes. This is because the color of the light generated changes according to the chemical composition of the hot glass. For this reason, lenses made to protect a glassworker’s eyes come in a variety of colors. Each lens color protects from exposure to certain parts of the light spectrum while ensuring that the worker can still clearly see the pieces being worked.
The type of protection can also be customized with this eyewear. Lenses protect from IR, UV, and sodium flare. Multiple types of protection can exist in one lens type. Lenses can also be ground to the user’s prescription to eliminate the need to wear a double set of glasses.
As people trained in the health fields, medical personnel surely know a lot about the importance of eyewear to occupational safety. This isn’t just because of their medical schooling, but because many aspects of health diagnostics require the use of specialized glasses or goggles. The dangers that must be dealt with in this industry are often invisible, but are hazardous just the same.
One of the most well-known invisible hazards in health care is radiation. This radiation comes in many forms, from the x-rays most people are familiar with to the radiation therapy used to treat cancer. Personnel must protect their entire bodies from exposure since they work with these invisible rays all day long. This includes the eyes, which would normally be some of the body’s most exposed parts. Eyewear used for this purpose doesn’t have to protect against impacts, but depending on the level and source of radiation, may still need to provide full coverage for the eyes. Therefore, it is available in many styles, ranging from glasses that look like standard prescription ones all the way to goggles with thick plastic frames. Facility operating standards will typically guide personnel on the technical requirements of their eyewear.
Lasers are also hazards to medical personnel. In the health care field, lasers can be powerful enough to perform surgery, so they’re nothing to be trifled with. Laser-proof eyewear is a must for anyone working with or near surgical lasers. It’s also needed for protection against being hit in the eyes by lasers used for diagnostics and other such tasks.
Choosing anti-laser glasses requires knowing which wavelengths are used by the lasers in question. This is because the lenses are made to attenuate specific ones rather than providing broad protection. The optical density of the laser must also be taken into consideration.
Laser-resistant glasses come in a variety of types and styles, so they can be customized to meet the challenges presented. Typically, the frames will wrap around to prevent the light from entering through the sides. Goggle versions can have solid sides too, but some have wraparound lenses so peripheral vision is only minimally affected. All styles should be stamped with which wavelengths they protect against so that the right pair can easily be chosen by personnel even if multiple choices are present.
These are just some of the many occupations that need safety glasses with unique protective properties. Many others rely on glasses, goggles, and even windowed helmets to protect themselves from light and heat. Radiation and laser glasses are also needed more and more often. Even those who use powerful, modern laser pointers on a regular basis can find that eye protection is needed.
To learn about which types of eyewear are needed to protect your eyes on the job, just contact us or visit our site. We’ll be glad to provide suggestions to keep your eyes safe from any sort of work-related hazard.