PPE Goggles or Personal Protection Goggles can help protect the mucous membrane of the eyes from bloodborne and airborne pathogens that can cause diseases. They are also necessary in areas where workers may be at a risk from airborne dust or flying particles.
Not all goggles meet the safety standards required for working in conditions with chemical, mechanical, radiological, environmental, biological, and other hazards. Workers in these areas are advised to wear PPE goggles at all times.
Let us study everything one needs to know about PPE Goggles.
What are the Uses of PPE Goggles?
PPE goggles are mandatory to wear in any areas having the following hazards:
- Flying or airborne dust particles
- Liquid splashes of hot liquids, chemicals, blood, etc.
- Molten metals
- Acids and Caustic liquids
- Chemical gases or vapors
- Injurious light radiation; intense light exposure due to welding arcs and lasers.
- Biological hazards like bacteria, viruses, blood and other bodily fluids, etc. transmitted through droplets from infected person/s.
Injuries to the eye and face can occur within split seconds. That is why, workers in environments having all the above risks must wear eye and face protection at all times – as soon as they enter the area and only remove it once they leave the area.
Similarly, in hospitals where frontline workers and healthcare providers come in close contact with infected individuals must wear PPE goggles all the time.
People who wear contact lenses need to be even more careful while working in hazardous environments. Dust or chemicals can enter the eye behind the lens and scratch the cornea. Chemicals can also melt the lenses. Hence PPE goggles are a must- for wearers of contact lenses.
Types of PPE Goggles
Different procedures and work-hazards need different types of protective eyewear. PPE goggles are typically of the following types:
As the name suggests, these goggles are for a single-time use and can be discarded after use. They can be worn over prescription glasses provided their frame is small.
Some pairs of disposables can be worn for up to a week, provided you wash them with soap and water at the end of each use and prior to wearing them again the next time you enter the hazardous area.
Safety glasses with side or face shields
Face shields with glasses allow better breathability to people who are uncomfortable wearing PPE masks with the PPE goggles.
These shields cover the eyes, mouth, nose, and cheeks as well, offering an all-round protection. Face shield goggles also offer superior splash protection.
Glasses with shields are lightweight, anti-fogging, and also easy to use and clean.
Multi-purpose anti-fogging PPE goggles/glasses
These can be used by pretty much everyone in construction, hospital staff, surgeons, swimmers, factory workers etc. Their frames are constructed with high-quality plastic or metals.
The glasses may have impact-resistant lenses. Depending on the level of impact resistance they offer, one can use them for protecting the eyes when doing jobs like carpentry work, woodwork, grinding, scaling, welding, etc.
High-quality goggles are engineered to greatest perfection – they have smaller vents to prevent aerosols and minute debris from entering the eyes.
Some also come with a coating to protect against UV rays.
Medical anti-fogging goggles have 100% seal to prevent viruses, bacteria, microbes from entering the eyes through splashes. Hospital staff that needs to perform intubation procedures need these for preventing exposure to highly contagious viruses.
PPE eyewear for protection from lasers and x-rays
Laser procedures use specialized eyewear to protect the user’s eyes from the effects of the laser. These glasses have specific optical density lenses. They prevent the energy or wavelength of the laser from reaching the retina of the eye.
Thus, they protect the wearer from scattered, diffused, or reflected laser beams.
X-ray personnel need to wear eyewear that is made of leaded glass.
PPE eyewear with video cams
Goggles with video cams are being used as educational tools these days. They are equipped with SD cards and a battery while being cable-free. The user can wrap the goggles around their eyes to record and transmit the viewed data which is stored on to the SD card. A card reader can later view the captured videos.
When and How to Wear PPE Goggles
Users must wear PPE goggles securely before performing the surgical scrub, or prior to entering the areas having aerosols, minute debris, sharp objects, hot splashes of liquids or chemicals, etc.
They must wear the goggles at all times during the procedure and even during the cleanup.
Anytime you are at a risk of coming in contact with bodily fluids, you should wear the goggles. Whether you handle instruments, or are in charge of cleanup of the ward housing the infected patients, you must wear goggles.
When wearing the protective goggles, use the following steps:
- Scrub your hands thoroughly with soap and water. If there is no soap, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- You can wear sterile gloves before wearing the goggles.
- Cover your hair with protective hair cover.
- Wear the goggles – only touch the handles and not the lenses.
- Make sure the pair fits your face well and does not pinch the nose or fall off when you bend.
- Clean the rim of the goggles before wearing and after removing them to prevent chemicals and dust from entering the eyes. You can use soap and water or special cleaning solutions available specially for cleaning eyewear.
- Dispose of eye wear and face shields right away if there are scratches, dents, or abrasions on their surface.
If you are exposed to dust, chemicals, or bodily fluids of infected person/s, discard the goggles in a safe manner.
Workplaces should follow utmost precautions to ensure that personnel wear protective eyewear at all times. They can take the following precautions as well:
- Post signs warning visitors, workers, and anyone entering the area to wear PPE goggles and face protection.
- Keep disposable goggles outside the critical areas for users/visitors to pick up on the way in.
- Keep backup supply of protection for workers if their PPE goggles are lost or damaged
- Make sure personnel follow safety rules.
- Check PPE for signs of wear and tear.
Standards for Eye Protection
OSHA requires that all PPE goggles and eye and face protection must meet ANSI Z87.1-1989 standards. These standards are laid out by the American National Standards Institute.
The goggles that meet these standards are deemed safe to use in the workplace. Equipment that meets these standards is marked as Z89.
How to Choose PPE Goggles? Features to Look for in PPE Goggles
Look for PPE goggles that fulfill the following requirements:
Protect against specific hazard you are exposed to
The eye protection you select must protect against the specific hazard in your workplace. Employers often specify the kind of PPE goggles to select.
Have a comfortable and snug fit
Choose goggles that are reasonably comfortable. They must not restrict vision. Nor should the goggles restrict movement or come in the way.
Select glasses that fit well on the face. They should not pinch the nose of the sides of your face or cause pain behind your ears. The goggles should not fall off when you bend.
The chosen PPE goggles must not interfere with the function of other PPE.
Are durable, long-lasting, easy to clean
If not disposable, select eye protection that can last long and resist scratches, impacts, bumps, abrasion, and dents.
They must be easy to clean and disinfect.
They meet safety standards
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requires that all protective eyewear in construction, chemical, design, testing, hospitals, and other fields with aforementioned hazards must meet the ANSI Z87.1989 standards for workplace safety.
Are personal spectacles considered as PPE?
No, personal spectacles aren’t a suitable replacement for PPE goggles. Even if they have side shields, they may not protect fully against splashes.
If you have prescription glasses, you must wear them under a full face shield or choose PPE goggles that can cover the glasses. These days, you can also get prescription lenses that can be attached behind protective lenses or face shields.
If needed, you can customize protective goggles conforming to the ANSI Z87.1 standards that have lenses that correct your vision.
Are face shields a better substitute to safety goggles?
Face shields are great for protecting from liquid splashes, blood, etc. However, they may not provide impact resistance.
That is the reason why many workplaces require a combination of PPE goggles and face shields. This way, one can protect against dust, impacts, and potential splashes as well.
How to choose the best PPE goggles for 100% protection?
Each kind of PPE safety eyewear is designed for protection against specific hazards. Workplaces are therefore required to perform complete hazard protection to identify the hazards that pose a threat to the eyes and face of the personnel.
Accordingly, you can select the PPE goggles based on those hazards. If, for example, you have to perform welding and laser operations, you may want to choose tinted glasses that protect your eyes from those wavelengths emitted by the devices.
Likewise, frontline workers during pandemics need superior protection from splashes of blood, body fluids, etc.
There are different types of PPE goggles for different hazards. They protect the eyes, eye sockets, facial area immediately surrounding the eyes form impacts, dust, and splashes.
We hope this brief guide on PPE goggles helps you.