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Lanes Group sees savings on eyewear

25 January 2013

Since switching to uvex safety glasses and storage pouches, Lanes Group's Rail Division has not had any reported eye related injuries and wastage has been cut Drainage specialist Lanes Group's Rail Division provides a

Since switching to uvex safety glasses and storage pouches, Lanes Group's Rail Division has not had any reported eye related injuries and wastage has been cut

Drainage specialist Lanes Group's Rail Division provides a vital overnight maintenance service to both London Underground (LU) and Tube Lines (TL). The company is contracted to maintain and correct premises and civils faults in LU and TL's assets, which include drainage systems, pipe work, roofing, glazing tiles and locks.

Scott Tracey is health and safety manager of the Rail Division of Lanes Group, with overall responsibility for the health and safety of 150 workers on the LU and TL contracts. He supervises and liaises with Lanes' own staff and sub-contractors, training workers in working safely, as well as writing company procedures, undertaking risk assessments and procuring and testing equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Until two years ago, Lanes had been experiencing a high level of wastage of safety glasses; the spectacles continually misted up and easily became scratched, since they did not have anti-mist or anti-scratch coatings.

In addition, the wearers had nowhere to put the specs when they took them off.

Scott Tracey explains: "The men used to wear the glasses and then put them in their vans. The glasses were not practical or user-friendly. We were getting through at least two to three pairs a week for each worker."

Trial of safety specs Tracey spoke to his directors to obtain their approval for trialling new safety specs supplied by uvex. The trials lasted two months and cost the company nothing. "We tried three different types of glasses, but after feedback from the users, chose the uvex Winner and uvex X-trend safety spectacles," he says.

"The Winner is a comfortable, flexible, frameless metal spectacle with large lenses that gives clear visibility in all directions; the X-trend has a large wrap-around lens, giving unobstructed vision in all directions. Both protect the whole eye area.

"The guys use the specs every night for every type of maintenance activity, from mixing up cement-based products and concrete, to repairing the tiling or plumbing systems," says Tracey.

Lanes also purchased uvex's protective pouches for storing the glasses, which its workers adapted to wear on the back of their helmets by attaching them to the band around the back of the helmet using Velcro clips.

Feedback Tracey says that the men are delighted with the X-trend and Winner spectacles, which they are allowed to choose according to the style they prefer.

"The feedback we have been given is that because of the anti-mist coating on the lenses, the specs don't mist up, clouding their vision. The scratch-resistant coating ensures they don't get damaged and this is further helped by the protective pouch being to hand all the time on their helmets. It encourages the guys to wear the glasses, so has enhanced safety on all the sites.

"Wearing safety specs used to be a big issue, but now the guys are much more happy to wear them," he adds.

Now that Lane's maintenance workers wear the protective pouches for the glasses on the backs of their helmets, they avoid getting scratched or damaged in transit on their vehicles' dashboards or thrown into tool bags after they have worn them, where they quickly used to become ineffectual.

In addition, the number of men wearing the glasses has increased: "Although it is not mandatory for workers to wear safety glasses, we are finding that nearly all our operatives are wearing them by choice, for all activities we undertake," reports Tracey.

Working on the London Underground is dirty work and wearing the specs on helmets rather than belts keeps them cleaner. The user always knows where the glasses are, avoiding the issue of them slipping around the body when worn on a belt. "Not everyone on site wears a belt, but everyone wears a safety helmet," Tracey points out.

According to the HSE, there are more than 2500 reportable eye injuries at work each year in the UK, a figure considered to be far lower than the actual number of injuries, due to under-reporting. Since switching to the uvex glasses Lanes Group reports that it has not had any reported eyerelated injuries.

Cost savings Although they are initially more expensive than the glasses previously used, they have enabled huge cost savings for the company, since each pair now lasts around two months, rather than having to be thrown away after a few days' use. They are thus extremely cost-effective. "We now get an extra seven weeks' worth of wear at no extra cost to ourselves," says Tracey.

Scott Tracey gave a presentation to the company's directors on the cost savings of using uvex's safety glasses.

"The directors were quite astounded by the results of the trials and were very pleased.

Since then we have not looked back," he concludes.