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From sport to industry – eyewear matters

18 July 2016

The wearing of protective eyewear in the workplace to safeguard workers’ precious eyes is as important as wearing safety eyewear in professional sports such as cycling and skiing. In these sports, safety is imperative, and participants put a lot of thought into ensuring their eyewear safeguards them to the highest possible level. This should apply equally well in the workplace, as uvex explains


Eyes are extremely vulnerable, and damage to them is one of the most common personal industrial injuries. A myriad of hazards such as chemicals, metals, sand, dirt, dust, falling or swinging objects, flying metal or wood chips, cuts to the cornea, vapour, heat, oil, infrared and ultraviolet radiation can threaten workers’ eyes, health and livelihoods.

Amongst the groups of workers most vulnerable to eye injuries are grinding machine operators, sanders, welders, mechanics, woodworkers, masons, plumbers and labourers. Healthcare workers are also at risk of infectious diseases contaminating their eyes.

Safety eyewear suitable for the job in hand effectively protects workers from danger, reducing or eliminating the risk of injury to the eyes from accidents or errors that could lead to pain, loss of eyesight, infection, distress, time off work and damage to a company’s reputation. 

Eyewear manufacturers are constantly innovating, so that safety glasses or goggles these days are lightweight, attractive, comfortable and are easy to fit and wear securely. Workers do not even notice they are wearing them, so increasing all-important wearer compliance. 

High-tech, permanent lens coatings improve vision and enable employees to work for longer periods of time without fatigue or loss of concentration. Prescriptions for long- or short-sight can be incorporated, eliminating the need for glasses or contact lenses, or models are available that can be worn over prescription glasses if desired.

Lens coatings

For maximum effectiveness, safety glasses or goggles need to be tailored to the task in hand, fit the face properly, be well-maintained and have the appropriate lens coatings for the environment in which they are being used. 

The correct lens coatings give protection against fogging, UVB/UVA and infrared light, scratching, chemicals, glare, dust, sparks and static. If unsuitable lens coatings are used, unwanted consequences such as eye irritation, lack of compliance in wear, low worker morale, and therefore dwindling productivity, may ensue.

Choosing the correct lens coating can sometimes be a complex and confusing issue. However, using the ‘spider graph’ selection chart from uvex, it is easy to plot and choose the right coating for the right job, so eliminating wasteful trial and error, saving time and costs, and increasing efficiency.  

The method is straightforward. Simply indicate the workplace conditions in terms of temperature (hot, cold) on the horizontal axis of the chart, describe the air humidity (dry, wet) on the diagonal axis, and specify the degree of dirt (dirty, clean) on the vertical axis. Join these three points to form a triangle, the largest area of which will show you the appropriate lens coating for the defined area of use.

A set amount of choices is available to cover most working conditions, so making the selection of lens coating even simpler.

uvex’s specialist sports and industrial safety divisions have shared their R&D to deliver innovative eyewear and other safety products offering a high degree of protection, comfort and technology to enhance performance and safety in both sport and in the workplace.