OSHA estimates there are over 20,000 eye and face injuries in the workplace each year. While the number may be staggering, an overwhelming majority of these injuries could have been prevented if the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was used. Let’s take a look at the OSHA standard and the common types of eye and face protection.
Standard 1910.133 Eye and Face Protection
OSHA requires employers to provide protection “when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.”
Eye & Face Protection is governed by the ANSI Z87.1 Standard where protection must comply based on the different types of hazard ratings including impact, dust, splashes, small particles, and radiation. Each piece of PPE must be marked and easily identified based on the hazards it protects against. While there is no expressed type of PPE for specific tasks, let’s take a look at the most common types of PPE and where they can be used.
The most common type of eye protection that can be used in most construction and manufacturing situations. Safety glasses protect against small hazards from entering the eye and can come with additional side shields to help against flying objects and dust particles.
Providing additional protection to completely cover the eyes, eye sockets, and skin around the eye. Safety goggles are used when additional airborne or liquid hazards are present that may be able to move above or below typical safety glasses.
Getting the most protection for both the eyes and face. Face shields cover the entire face from forehead to chin, minimizing the potential impact from any types of hazards. Most face shields are impact or chemical rated for protection against large flying objects or acidic/caustic chemicals and gases.
A safety feature designed specifically for protection against radiation. Weld hoods are used with interchangeable filtered lenses to protect against all types of radiant energy from welding and soldering. Before using a weld hood, check the corresponding shade number located on the lens to make sure it is rated for the task at hand.
While most people don’t think of Eye and Face Protection as life or death, it can be life threatening as over 1 million workers have lost some degree of sight due to these injuries. Making sure you select the right type of eye and face protection and wearing it properly can significantly reduce your risk of injury. To keep the conversation going, download our Eye & Face Toolbox Talk (TBT) or comment below.