Choosing The Proper Ppe For Eyes And Face In The Workplace

When a work task requires the use of PPE, it is important to consider what type is of protection is necessary for the specific job. In considering eye and face protection, the following elements should be examined:

  • Proper fit and comfort
  • Unrestricted vision and movement
  • Protection against hazards specific to the the job
  • Allow unrestricted functioning of other required PPE

All eye and face protection must clearly identify the manufacturer and comply with ANSI standards. Keep in mind that if only one pair of protective eyewear exists between multiple users, the eyewear must be cleaned/disinfected after each use. Protective eyewear with prescription lenses must be used only by the employee for whom the corrective lenses were issued.

The following are some of the most common types of eye and face protection:

Goggles. These are tight-fitting eye protection that completely cover the eyes, eye sockets and the facial area immediately surrounding the eyes and provide protection from impact, dust and splashes. Some goggles will fit over corrective lenses.

Safety Glasses. These protective eyeglasses have impact-resistant lenses and safety frames made of metal or plastic. Some models are also equipped with side shields.

Welding Shields. These shields are constructed of vulcanized fiber or fiberglass and fitted with a filtered lens. They are specially designed to protect eyes from burns caused by infrared or intense radiant light while also protecting the eyes and face from flying sparks, chips and metal splatter during welding operations. OSHA requires filter lenses to have a shade number appropriate to protect against the specific hazards of the work being performed relative to the harmful light radiation.

Laser Safety Goggles. These goggles are specifically designed to protect against intense concentrations of light produced by lasers. The type of laser goggles chosen depends upon the equipment and operating conditions in the workplace.

Face Shields. These shields are made of transparent sheets of plastic that extend from the eyebrows to below the chin and across the width of the wearer’s head. Some can be polarized to mitigate glare during work procedures. Face shields can protect against everything from nuisance dusts to potential splashes or sprays of hazardous liquids. But face shields do not provide sufficient protection against impact hazards so the must be used in combination with goggles or safety spectacles to provide proper impact protection.

    Be sure to conduct a thorough hazard assessment of the jobsite to determine the type of protective eye or face wear needed that is specific to the job.