Knowing When to Replace Your Laser Safety Glasses
We all know that workplace safety is of the utmost importance. Whether you are working with construction equipment or lasers, there are many dangers found in various kinds of work environments, and protecting your employees and yourself from these dangers is a crucial part of your job. Part of ensuring you and your workmates are well protected involves ensuring the proper safety equipment is worn.
Laser safety glasses, for instance, should always be worn in areas where eyes may be exposed to direct or scattered laser radiation. This is a crucial part of workplace eye safety, and should never be ignored. Fortunately, this rule is usually followed, helping to significantly reduce laser-related accidents.
That said, not all laser safety glasses are equally helpful. Glasses that have not been well maintained and old, worn-out eyewear both pose significant safety hazards. The trouble is, not everyone realizes this fact, and even those who do realize it don’t necessarily understand when their glasses should be replaced.
In this article, we will discuss the various signs that your laser safety glasses need to be replaced. Read on to learn when to replace your laser safety glasses in order to keep your eyes—and the eyes of those around you—safe at work.
Scratched or Scuffed Lenses
Scratches, scuffs, and other markings on the lenses of your safety eyewear make seeing things clearly a bit more difficult. Because you will be working with laser beams and other dangerous tools, this less-than-perfect vision can be a real hazard.
That said, attempting to buff the scratches out is never a good idea with safety glasses, as the process could damage the protective properties of the eyewear. Therefore, glasses with scratched lenses simply must be replaced.
Worse than the scratched lenses mentioned above are cracked lenses. This is an obvious safety issue for a couple of reasons.
First, these cracks have the potential to impede your vision just as any scratch might. However, that isn’t the worst of it—cracks in safety eyeglass lenses can let in stray laser beams and result in injury or even blindness. Considering that the purpose of wearing these glasses is to prevent such things, we’d say a cracked lens is a good reason to replace your safety eyewear.
Sometimes frames can also become cracked. While you may feel that a bit of tape can fix this issue easily, it isn’t actually the best idea. Damaged frames increase the likelihood of a lens popping out mid-task. Additionally, a frame that is held together by tape is not likely to fit correctly, meaning beams could slip by or the glasses could slip off. As you can see, even those who are quite good at taping glasses together really shouldn’t attempt it when it comes to safety eyewear.
Whether you choose to wear safety glasses or goggles, they will stretch over time. Unfortunately, this means the eyewear is much more likely to slip out of place. Sometimes this can be fixed by tightening the screws holding the arms of the glasses on, or tightening up the strap on the back of the goggles. However, this doesn’t always do the trick. If these options aren’t working for you, a new pair of safety glasses or goggles are in order.
As with broken frames, broken arms should never be taped back into place. Loose and ill-fitting glasses are an issue for the same reasons mentioned above, and taped arms are a surefire way to create an ill-fitting pair of safety glasses. A better alternative is to purchase a new pair of safety glasses and keep them in a hard case in order to protect them from the same type of damage.
Loss of OD or Wavelength Markings
ANSI Z136 requires that all laser safety glasses are marked with optical density or wavelength protection ability. Occasionally, these markings will wear off over time. If you notice that your safety glasses no longer have these markings, they are not in compliance with Z136. This can be remedied by re-stamping the glasses with these markings, but in many cases this is a sign of age and the glasses should be replaced anyway.
With this information in mind, you will be capable of taking huge strides in the direction of workplace eye safety. Adding monthly inspections to your work routine will allow you an opportunity to watch for these signs of wear, giving you the chance to insist upon new eyewear for employees when necessary.
As an added precaution, eyewear safety training can be added to your employees’ schedules in order to provide them with the information they need to watch for damage to their own glasses. By educating your staff on the reasons behind replacing eyewear when signs of damage crop up, they will be more willing to invest in new glasses when the time comes. They will also be able to catch damage acquired between inspections on their own, something that could be invaluable in a busy workplace.
Are you looking for the very best ways to keep the eyes of your employees and yourself safe while you work with lasers and in other potentially hazardous environments? We would love to help!
Here at Phillips Safety Products, we offer only the highest-quality items, ensuring your workplace will be as safe as possible when you order from us. Please contact us today to learn more about our products and our commitment to safety.