Safety Glasses and Regulatory Choices
The use of proper eyewear or face-wear for protection against workplace hazards is an important topic in the occupational health and safety field.
To protect workers’ face and/or eyes against workplace elements, employers must have a standard of safety eyewear that is specific to their company or line of work. That standard may be the use of full face shields on the job-site to safety glasses that can fulfill a number of eyewear protection needs. The proper eyewear or face protection is determined by the type of workplace dangers that are present on your jobsite. Canadian employers must provide workers with the training and maintenance regarding safety eyewear; although many employers supply safety eyewear it is the workers responsibility to pay for the safety eyewear. With this in mind, how does a worker recognize safety glasses on the job site? What are the distinguishing characteristics?
The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) outlines the following:
Lenses: Safety glasses that are CSA-certified must have plastic polycarbonate lenses. Polycorbonate is defined as having a stronger material than regular plastic lenses. These type of lenses are impact-resistant and can be manufactured as regular and prescription types.
Frames: Safety glasses frames that are CSA-certified are noted as being stronger and more durable than the types of frames found in regular glasses. The frames are typically heat resistant as well. Importantly, a typical safety glasses frame will be designed in a manner that reduces the chance for the lens to be pushed into the wearer’s eye during moments of impact.
Safety Glasses Lens Color Chart
If you’ve spent any amount of time on a job site, you’ll quickly notice that there are a number of safety glasses’ lens colors to choose from. From yellow to blue, lens colors are very specific to the type of job and work environment that you are involved in; therefore, what should you know about choosing the color of safety glass lenses? The chart below outlines the color differences in lenses.
|Clear Lens||Meant for indoor use. Impact protection.|
|Grey Lens||Meant for outdoor use. Glare protection.|
|Amber Lens||Meant for indoor use in low light situations. Enhances contrast.|
|Orange Lens||Meant for low-light use. Offers a high-contrast.|
|Blue Lens||Meant for indoor use. Offers a high contrast for situations where excessive sodium vapor or yellow light is present.|
|Mirrored Lenses||Mirrored finishes on lenses are present to reduce glare. They reflect a high amount of light.|
|Polarized Lenses||Polarized finishes on lenses are present to block intense reflected light. Reduces eye-fatigue caused by glare.|
Prescription Safety Glasses Advancements
Growth in the prescription safety glasses market is a welcome advancement for thousands of on-site workers. With improved lens technology manufacturers can now provide goggles and glasses with prescriptive lenses to correct near-sightedness, far-sightedness and astigmatism. Spectacle wearers no longer have to fight against wearing ill-fitting safety glasses over-top their regular prescriptive lenses, and that is a strong win for comfort alone, not to mention safety.
Workers wearing prescription lenses must ensure that the glasses they choose meets the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standards. In addition, workers wearing contact lenses must be aware of additional hazards and have prescription safety glasses available for use when required.
Face Shields / Face Wear
Face shields are an extension of eye-protection where the entire face must be protected from a number of external dangers, including: impact, electrical, chemical splashes, heat, radiation, dust & debris.
The topic of eye wear on the job site is detailed in its scope. For a complete reference on the topic of eyewear safety from a Canadian perspective, please refer to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety and the section dedicated to Safety Glasses and Face Protectors.
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety ‘Safety Glasses’ Link: http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/prevention/ppe/glasses.html