Trends in ... eye protection

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More than 2,000 people experience a work-related eye injury each day in the United States, and about 1 out of 10 of these injuries require at least one day away from work, according to Prevent Blindness, a volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight.

Here, industry insiders discuss what’s new in the eye protection field and what employers and workers need to better understand about eye safety.

Integration

Combining eye protection with other personal protective equipment, such as hard hats, is becoming more popular in the safety industry, said Stacey Simmons, product manager for industrial head and face protection at Cynthiana, KY-based Bullard.

“Integrated eye protection ensures workers are fully protected against changing hazards, including falling objects, flying sparks, chemicals or excessive heat,” Simmons said.

Staying informed

When asked what she wished employers better understood about eye protection, Katie Mielcarek, marketing manager for Cleveland-based Gateway Safety Inc., said going with the cheapest option isn’t always the best tactic.

“Workers who ‘buy into’ a pair of safety glasses that they actually enjoy wearing will keep track of them at work and even take better care of them,” Mielcarek said. “That means employers will not have to buy additional replacement pairs. At the same time, these employees will stay safer by wearing eye protection they won’t be quick to remove in between jobs, exposing themselves to eye hazards.”

Customer concerns

Regarding questions and concerns customers have about eye protection, Simmons noted that understanding the markings and standards for eye and visor protection can be confusing.

“For instance, there are different eye/visor products that are best suited for chemical splashes or impact-resistant work environments,” Simmons said. “Workers need to understand the limitations of their eye/visor protection so they can make the right choice for their work environments to stay safe on the job.”

Mielcarek said both workers and employers are looking for unique safety eyewear.

“Manufacturers that just provide the same ‘off the rack’ safety glasses are ignoring the industry call for more innovative safety eyewear,” Mielcarek said. “Custom-fit designs, innovative temples, improved comfort features, modern styles and colorful options are all ways in which safety eyewear is being differentiated.”

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

Coming next month:

  • Wearables/lone worker devices
  • Security products and lighting

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