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What Is Eye Protection PPE? - A Detailed Guide
Eye protection PPE is very important to protect your eyes from falling debris, flying fragments, and/or splashes of liquids or chemicals. They can save your vision and also your life.
After all, eyes are the ‘soft-entrance’ to the brain. Therefore, any risk of injury to the eye should never be overlooked.
This is where eye protection PPE can help. In this guide, we will study everything you need to know about Eye Protection PPE and its types.
Uses Of Eye Protection PPE
Eye protection PPE varies based on the hazards involved at the workplace. Different types of eye PPE can be useful against the following types of hazards:
- Large flying objects – Goggles, chipper’s eyecups, plastic face shield or spectacles with plastic of metal frames.
- Dust and small flying objects – Goggles with metal or plastic frames, plastic face shield.
- Dust and wind – Goggles, chipper’s eyecups, plastic face shield or spectacles with plastic of metal frames.
- Molten metal – Goggles (eyecup, plastic face shield, foundry men’s shield, chipper’s eyecups) or spectacles (plastic or metal frame or plastic face-shield.)
- Gases fumes, smoke – Goggles with face shield or side shields and flexible fitting
- Splashing liquids – Goggles with face shield or side shields and flexible fitting
- Reflected light-glare – goggles or spectacles with plastic or metal frame or plastic eye shield
- Radiation hazards (moderate) – welder’s and cutter’s goggles, eyeshields, helmets, and face shields
- Radiation energy (intense) – helmets with metal/plastic frame spectacles.
- Contact lens wearers must be aware that they have even more risk to their contact lenses in chemical environments which can dissolve or crack the lenses. So, PPE is a must-have for such personnel.
Different Types Of Eye PPE
To meet the demands for protection in workplaces, there are many different types of eye and face PPE equipment:
Eye Protection is mainly of the following types:
Goggles as part of PPE consist of a pair of contour-shaped eyecups that come in contact with facial contours and have either plastic or glass lenses. They are worn over the eyes and typically held in place by headbands. PPE goggles protect the eyes and the eye sockets.
Goggles is also a term used to describe protective spectacles.
Each eyecup in eyecup goggles comes with lens retainer bearing evenly on the lens. This maintains even pressure to retain fragments in the event of lens breakage.
The design of eyecup goggles permits ready replacement and removal of its lenses.
For welders and cutters, the lens retainers also contain filter lens, fiber gasket, and cover lens.
Eyecup goggles are further divided into cup type –which are useful individuals that do not wear prescription or corrective glasses, cover-cup type designed for fitting over corrective glasses or spectacles, and chipper’s eyecup goggles for protection against flying debris and objects. Note that chipper’s goggles do not protect against splashing liquids, molten metals, and injurious light rays.
These are another type of PPE goggles which protect against fine debris and flying particles typically encountered in woodworking, metalworking, and other machines or operations that create dust hazards.
Welder’s and cutter’s eye protection PPE goggles
These types of eye protection PPE can protect against glare and injurious radiation. They also provide ventilation and air circulation to prevent fogging on lenses. The ventilation openings are baffled to prevent entry of light rays inside the eyecups.
The main difference between welders/cutters goggles and chipper’s goggles is that the former contain filter lenses to absorb UV and infrared rays.
Flexible fitting goggles
These are versatile forms of eye protection PPEs. They prevent risks from fine dust, mists, sprays, fumes, and splashes.
Flexible PPE goggles is made with a lightweight frame that is resistant to chemicals, and is also nontoxic, non-irritating, and may or may not have ventilated openings depending upon the risk of splashes.
Flexible fitting goggles are not recommended for areas where there is risk of impacts as their flexibility can cause them to cave in. Also, being made of non-rigid material, they may not offer as much impact-protection as eyecup goggles.
Plastic eyeshield goggles
Plastic eye shield goggles are recommended in areas where there may be dangers of light flying objects or injurious radiation.
Spot welders, chippers, woodworkers, or personnel in areas with glare or injurious can benefit from the use of these goggles. Do not use these for protection from severe hazards caused by flying objects.
These consist of a mask made using flexible, non-irritating, and non-toxic material, metal lens holders, lenses, and a positive support on the face.
They are useful for protecting against risks caused by hot metal splashes, impacts, and chemical fumes in foundry operations like grinding, melting, pouring, etc.
Metal or plastic frame spectacles
These can provide protection from flying objects, splashes, and moderate radiation. Sometimes, you need to ensure that spectacles come with side protection as well. Metal and plastic frame PPE spectacles can protect against flying metals which are a risk in chipping, grinding, and machine tool operations.
Sometimes, protective spectacles with metal frames can also come with filter lenses for spot welding or when working adjacent to areas where welding is taking place.
There is not much difference between protective spectacles with plastic and metal frames and their selection is largely a matter of choice.
Helmets provide protection to the eyes and also to the face, neck, and head. They are especially necessary in areas with intense radiant energy.
Face shields provide protection against flying objects, splashes of hazardous liquids and bodily fluids, molten metals, debris, and dust in addition to anti-glare protection.
Typical areas where face shields are useful are: woodworking where there is a risk of flying wood chips, metal machining, grinding operations, spot welding, handling patients with infectious diseases with risk of blood or body fluid splashes, or handling of hot corrosive metals.
Face shields are often worn with goggles or spectacles because they tend to have a gab at the bottom or the sides which can allow entry to contaminants, fluids, chemicals, fragments, etc.
Factors To Consider when Selecting Eye Protection PPE
Conduct a survey to assess the hazards
Hazards can be categorized as impacts, penetration, splashes, chemical, dust, heat, radiation, etc. Analyze the data and the type and level of risk along with an assessment of potential of injuries.
Accordingly, you can select the appropriate eye protection PPE that offers a protection greater than the minimum required (as recommended by your workplace) to protect you from the above hazards.
Comfort and fit
You must give careful consideration to the comfort and fit of the protective device. If it is not comfortable, chances are that you will remove it often or not wear it at all. This can increase your risk of injury or contamination.
Select an appropriately sized eye PPE.
Some forms of PPE need adjustments and customization to conform to individual face contours. Make adjustments to your selected PPE so that it ensures comfortable fit while maintaining its protection. For example, in case of face shield, you must make sure that the PPE has a tight seal against dust, chemicals, and splashes.
Use multiple forms of protection
Some hazards need additional protection. For example, face shields must be worn over eye goggles and spectacles to protect against chemicals, glare, heat, radiant energy, debris, etc.
Meets different standards
We have discussed some ANSI standards below.
If you need vision correction
Wearers of contact lenses or vision corrective eye glasses must wear PPE eyewear that protects the spectacles or lenses. Helmets, face shields, or special goggles that can be worn over the spectacles can help. Make sure that there is no gap that could let in debris, liquids, etc.
In areas with electric hazards, users must be careful when wearing metal PPE.
Use anti-fog lenses in poorly ventilated conditions
In some areas, fogging of lenses can occur due to restricted ventilation or certain atmospheric conditions. Clean the glasses or PPE frequently.
For protection from light radiation
Light radiation protection is directly proportional to filter lens density. Select the darkest lens that allows task performance.
Should I wear PPE goggles under a face shield?
Yes. It is important to wear PPE goggles in addition to a face shield because it had gaps from the bottom and the sides. This can let splashing liquids, bodily fluids like blood or mucous, aerosols, chemicals, etc. in. So, wearing both PPE eye protections is a must, at least in hazardous areas.
What are the ANSI standards for eye protection?
The American National Standards Institute classifies safety goggles and glasses as A, B, C, and D types. Type A protects against frontal flying fragments, whereas B, C, and D types offer protection against side flying fragments. All four types must be rated Z87.1 for impact protection.
Chemical protection goggles for splash protection are rated G and H with type G having no ventilation and H having ventilation.
Many sources of danger to the eyes create a need for use of eye protection PPE in labs, factories, workshops, garages, and even in the outdoors. The appropriate eye protection is dependent on the hazard the worker is or can be exposed to in the workplace.
We hope this brief guide on types of eye protection PPE helps you.
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