When we take a holistic view of eye safety by considering the manufacturer, the products and the individual workers who rely on them, we can make great strides toward reducing occupational eye injuries.
When you think of eye safety, you might immediately think of protective eyewear, OSHA requirements for using such eyewear, or the various eye hazards in your workplace. What you might not consider is the intense pain and unmeasurable cost to an individual who experiences an eye injury—and the lasting effect on his or her overall quality of life.
Choosing a safety eyewear manufacturer can feel like a leap of faith. But when you look closely, key attributes will help you identify the reliable, safety- and quality-focused manufacturers that stand out from the crowd. Look beyond manufacturers who treat safety eyewear like a commodity. Instead, look for those that show a proven commitment to eye protection from every angle, including those that sponsor advocacy programs for industrial safety.
Here is a list of attributes to seek in a manufacturer that will deliver what you and your workforce really need:
- Proven history of product integrity and dedicated customer support
- New product development processes in which listening to customers is key
- Commitment to research and development of innovative new frame materials, lens tints, lens coatings, style, and fit and comfort features
- Customized sample programs that allow end users to try application-specific eyewear before they buy
- State-of-the-art processes that ensure order fulfillment, rapid response, and uninterrupted supply
- Involvement in national standards committees to further the protection of workers
- Manufacture in the USA and dedicated on-site engineers who ensure all products meet or exceed quality standards, regardless of where they are manufactured
Focus on the Products
Once you’ve identified a shortlist of reliable manufacturers, shift your focus toward their product offerings. Safety eyewear comes in a multitude of sizes, shapes, and styles—sometimes with even more options in lens tints, lens coatings, and more.
Remember, despite how good they look, safety spectacles, goggles, and sealed eyewear alike must fit properly in order to protect. Not only is ill-fitting eyewear uncomfortable and distracting, it also can fall out of place upon impact, allowing objects to reach the eyes. To ensure a safe and proper fit, look for styles that either come in small, medium, and large sizes; have flexible wraparound coverage; or feature innovative adjustability options that enable a high level of customization for a personal fit.
And, fogging lenses pose a major problem for nearly everyone wearing safety eyewear. Fog obscures an individual’s view of the task at hand and of nearby hazards. Furthermore, fog is nearly impossible to avoid: It is caused both by environmental factors and by the heat naturally generated by worker exertion. Selecting a proven, long-lasting anti-fog lens coating is vital. Look for coatings that are permanently bonded to the lens, last more than 30 washes, employ dual-action hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties, and undergo rigorous batch testing at the point of manufacture to ensure evenly distributed application and to maintain excellent optical clarity.
Focus on the People You Protect
You’ve identified a trustworthy manufacturer and selected eye protection that meets the needs of each individual worker and the hazards they face. Now, it’s time to focus on the individuals—the fathers, mothers, loved ones, and friends—whom you are committed to protecting.
- Educate workers on the specific hazards present, how those hazards can impact the eyes, and the importance of always wearing safety eyewear among those hazards.
- Conduct fit tests to ensure eyewear fits each individual properly (snug and gap-free).
- Ensure the best anti-fog performance possible to maintain a clear view of tasks and hazards.
- Provide the appropriate lens tint for the lighting in each environment and explain the long-term benefits of their use.
- Teach workers how to recognize an eye injury and what to do in the event of such an injury.
- Foster a culture of safety in which workers encourage each other to wear their eye protection.
Eye safety matters. In fact, most people value the sense of sight above all others.When we take a holistic view of eye safety by considering the manufacturer, the products, and the individual workers who rely on them, we can make great strides toward reducing occupational eye injuries. Doing so also helps us meet our overarching goal to send every worker home without injury every day so they can enjoy life, uninterrupted.