Workplace Solutions Eye protection

Eye protection to prevent fogging

With winter coming, temperature changes while entering and exiting from outdoors can cause eye protection to fog. How do we keep our workers safe?

Responding is Wanda Sanchez-Miller, product marketing manager, Honeywell Uvex, Lincolnshire, IL.

Eye protection can be ensured only when safety eyewear is worn at all times in hazardous environments. In cold-weather climates, a worker’s movement from the indoors to the outdoors and back again, as well as changes in body temperature while working, may cause lenses to fog. When temperature changes disrupt a worker’s ability to see through his or her lenses, the natural instinct is to remove the glasses to fix the problem.

However, removing eyewear for wiping or readjustment exposes the worker to surrounding safety hazards. To help prevent this problem, workers should wear safety glasses with lenses that contain a premium anti-fog coating.

Unfortunately, most anti-fog coatings on the market rub off after several cleanings or fog up after only a few seconds. But the best anti-fog coatings are baked into safety lenses during manufacturing and the anti-fog properties last several minutes.

Condensation on the lens occurs naturally because of temperature variances in winter, but a premium anti-fog coating will ensure clear visibility through a lens for more than 180 seconds, whereas the average lens will fog up after only two seconds. One indicator of superior lens performance is the anti-fog coating properties. Look for an anti-fog coating that is both hydrophilic (attracts moisture) and hydrophobic (repels moisture in the form of droplets to sides of lenses).

Fortunately, safety eyewear has become more stylish, and the best safety eyewear on the market has this aesthetic quality, as well as anti-fog coating properties. Why is this important? Because we have found that the more stylish and comfortable the eyewear, the more likely a worker will keep his or her safety glasses on, thereby avoiding injury and staying compliant with safety codes.

Adjustability of eyewear is another feature that goes hand in hand with a premium anti-fog coating. Look for eyewear that fits the needs of today’s growing, diverse workforce – an adjustable nosepiece and ratchet, flexible temples, and comfort brow. One-size-fits-all safety glasses aren’t the best eye protection.

The safety manager who wants maximum eye protection will look for safety glasses that come in a premium anti-fog coating, but also look stylish and offer a comfortable fit. Whether your workers need spectacles, sealed eyewear or sunglasses, safety glasses are only of good use when they are worn. If the worker looks great, they will feel great and perform great. More importantly, they will be safe and compliant.

During these cold days of winter, it’s advisable that workers know the specific anti-fog properties of their protective eyewear when risk exposure is increased. Winter may present unique occupational hazards from sudden temperature changes, and organizations may not be aware that there are choices to make to keep workers safe and compliant.

Editor's note: This article represents the independent views of the author and should not be construed as a National Safety Council endorsement.

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