Get Your Eye Protection Sorted This Summer

With longer, hotter, brighter days during the summer months, there’s no better time to think about updating your eye protection. Work related eye injuries, whether from a single incident or as a result of prolonged exposure to damaging agents such as sunlight, dust or other contaminants, are all too common.

The good news is that most work-related eye injuries and damage are readily preventable with the correct use of good quality eye protection, whether it’s sunglasses to keep away the impact of UV, or specialised safety glasses for a wide range of applications.

Choosing the correct eyewear for your workplace is the critical first step. And that means understanding the workplace hazards that your eyes might be exposed to. These include:

  • mechanical risks, where the use of tools and plant can result in small pieces of metal or other material damaging your cornea.
  • UV radiation and light from activities such as welding which can cause either acute, immediate or long term damage to your retina and optical nerve.
  • Heat related injuries – either heat exposure or damage from hot liquds and splashes.
  • Chemical damage

Next, it’s important to understand the different types of eye protection and safety glasses and the nature and amount of eye protection they offer. This includes understanding the type of lenses on offer and the breadth of protection required. For sun protection, for example, a high quality, wrap around pair of sunglasses with enhanced UV protection and polarised lenses is likely to be appropriate. In other situations, clear or tinted safety glasses might be appropriate, or potentially full safety goggles.

A quick summary of the different lens types is presented below:

Material Impact and scratch resistance Solvent resistance Weight UV protection Optical clarity Cost
Polycarbonate Excellent Okay Light Good Okay Mid-range
Polyurethane Excellent Okay Very light Good Excellent Expensive
Acrylic Mid-range Good Light Poor Poor Inexpensive
Optical glass Poor Excellent Heavy Variable Excellent Expensive

Other factors to consider, which may influence the effectiveness of your safety eyewear, include lens coatings, lens tints, comfort and design and whether or not prescription eyewear is required.

Finally, it is important to ensure that your safety eyewear meets the requirements of the relevant Australian Standards for eye protection. Most well-known brands of industrial safety eye wear are compliant with these exacting requirements and manufacturers regularly test glasses and goggles,ensuring that eyewear protects against impacts far greater than what you might encounter on the work site. It is important that you look for the Standards mark on your glasses and goggles to ensure you are fully protected.

Keeping your eyes safe and healthy is critical to your ability to work. When you are in the market for safety eyewear, make sure you understand what your workplace requirements are and ensure you purchase your eye protection from a reputable workwear provider.