Many work environments can pose potential risks to vision, demonstrated by the 800,000 eye injuries that occur in workplaces around the world every year. Risks can come in many forms and settings, from irritation caused by metal shavings on a construction site to over-exposure to a screen in an office.
Particularly in high-risk environments, our eyes can be damaged irreparably by machines and chemicals, among other hazards. Safety eyewear is usually employed in these environments, but too often protective prescription eyewear is forgotten – potentially leaving workers vulnerable to injury.
Why safety eyewear is important
Vision is one of the most important senses we have, especially at work. We need to be able to focus on the task at hand, as well as our surroundings, to ensure that we do the job correctly and protect ourselves.
Your eyes have to be protected from anything that may cause them harm. Safety eyewear is of the utmost importance because it places a barrier between your eyes and dust, debris, sparks, light and heat, chemical exposure, and splashes.
If you work with any of the following potential hazards, some form of eye protection is absolutely essential:
Radiation & light
This can apply to environments with high-intensity lights, ultraviolet radiation, or lasers. These require eye protection that will provide both a physical barrier and light reducing properties. Welders, for example, as well as many other workers subject to high-intensity radiation, need to wear PPE designed specifically for this task.
When working with chemicals, safety goggles must be employed. You must also make sure that the goggles are appropriate for the job itself, as some lenses have different properties. If a chemical splashes near your eyes, it could have severe health implications.
Where a job requires cutting materials, such as wood, plastic, glass or metal, eye protection is necessary. Shrapnel can fly out towards the face, and in serious cases, this could lead to blinding.
When working with wood in particular, there comes an additional risk of sawdust and other small particles which can cause irritation or infection. In some cases, you may need side shields or full-face protection.
Workers in healthcare settings also need to be protected against bloodborne pathogens that could potentially infect them with viruses, including the likes of hepatitis and HIV. Wearing safety goggles in these environments is the best way to protect your eyes from blood splashes that could be harmful.
Aside from the dangers that projectiles present, which we’ve already covered, tools that are used for cutting, drilling, and other construction tasks can also present serious hazards in and of themselves. Power drills and chainsaws, in particular, pose risks to their operators, but nail guns, staple guns, and many other power tools can also be dangerous. Wearing eye protection while operating these hazardous power tools can help to protect against some of the most dangerous risks.
Fog might not sound like an eye hazard worth considering at first, but it has the potential to be extremely dangerous in certain settings. Agricultural facilities, construction sites, and even factories or warehouses become extremely dangerous workplaces when foggy.
The reduced visibility in some cases can prevent work altogether, and such delays lead to severe losses for the business. In oil and gas fields, off-shore platforms, and mining operations, for example, production shortfall due to downtime alone can reach hundreds of thousands in losses per day.
The formation of fog, however, is not just a weather condition. The same humidity and temperature differences that create clouds of fog can also fog up surfaces such as safety glasses and goggles. When glasses fog up, it can reduce the visibility of the wearer. This essentially blinds them until the condensation can be removed, which is not always a possibility when in the middle of a job.
For contract workers that are common in these settings, this could also result in a reduction in pay. In many situations, this fogging up can occur at crucial moments and result in disaster for the wearer. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that safety glasses are also anti-fog.
Reasons to consider prescription safety eyewear
Whilst regulations are unclear regarding whether or not an employer must provide prescription safety glasses, it makes sense to do so for a few reasons.
Prescription safety glasses are specially designed to protect the eyes whilst also allowing the wearer to see properly. Prescription lenses, therefore, should be a priority for those who need them, and more people may need them than you first think.
Sight problems themselves are an increasing issue in the UK. Estimates put the figure of people who wear corrective eyewear (or have had laser eye surgery) at around 74%. Fight For Sight estimates that up to 250 people begin to lose their sight on a daily basis.
It should be second nature to do everything we can to protect clear eyesight at work. Aside from this, the alternative – wearing prescription glasses with safety glasses or goggles layered over the top – can cause glare, which will inhibit the sight of the wearer and be extremely uncomfortable. So, by providing protective prescription eyewear, you will be making your staff more comfortable at work, and also leave them able to do their jobs more effectively.
Our range of protective prescription eyewear
Here at Protec Direct, we view clear eyesight as being of the utmost importance to an employee and the job they are able to do. This is why we stock a wide range of prescription safety eyewear, designed with comfort in mind for the wearer.
Our prescription lenses are combined with anti-scratch and anti-fog coatings, ensuring that they are suitable for all environments. We also offer a range of blue-light blocking glasses, which can filter the glare presented by digital screens and can help protect your retina.
The glasses come with a range of different frame materials and styles, including metal, plastic and hybrid.
We have prescription safety goggles, fully protecting the eye and surrounding area from harm. We additionally have prescription safety reading glasses, to ensure that your employees can pay attention to detail while on the job. Alongside these, we stock prescription safety packs, which you can simply take to an optician dispensary and have fitted to your specifications. You can choose from a range of frames so that you are both protected and stylish.