Eye/Face Protection

Trends in ... eye and face protection

When asked about a common issue they see in the eye and face protection industry, multiple experts said the same thing: One size does not fit all.

That’s particularly true “when it comes to eye and face protection,” says Zach Richman, director of personal protective equipment product marketing at Milwaukee Tool. “Unfortunately, most safety glasses and goggles are still based on generic head forms, providing a mediocre baseline for safety.”

Natalie Meysembourg, senior sales development manager at Fastenal, and Makenzie Hoffman, the company’s safety sales development manager, echoed that thought: “In most cases, the cheapest safety glasses are not the best solution, and one size doesn’t fit all. Many manufacturers offer a wide variety of styles and fit, which can include smaller profile frame styles. Proper fit is key to reducing eye injuries.”

What’s the difference?

According to Tim Gallant, product director for Ergodyne, ensuring workers are using the right protection for the job requires everyone to understand the differences between eye and face protection options.

“Safety glasses are the basic level of eye protection and great for a wide range of applications, but may not offer sufficient protection against fine particles and splashes,” he said. “Safety goggles provide a seal between the lens and the face, offering better protection against contaminants. They’re ideal for tasks involving chemicals, dust, metal grinding and more. Faceshields offer the most comprehensive protection for both the eyes and the face. They cover the entire face, protecting against flying debris, chemical splashes and other hazards. Faceshields are especially useful when working with explosive power tools, arc flashes and biohazardous fluids.

“It’s essential to ensure the faceshields can be used in conjunction with other necessary safety accessories, such as earmuffs and safety glasses.”

A new view

Now available: “Many companies are also asking for ‘green’ or sustainable products,” Meysembourg and Hoffman said. “There are manufacturers who are producing safety glasses made from recycled materials, and PPE recycling programs are becoming more prevalent.”

Added Jeremy Brandfass, president of I-Form Eyewear: “Incorporating eco-friendly construction with recycled materials through environmentally conscious manufacturing is now possible, not only at basic safety standards, but at the more rigorous levels needed within our industry. From the simplest of solutions toward eyestrain through better optics to the engineered advances of providing greater impact protection through self-adjusting flexible frame technology, all can be delivered with the environment as our constant focus.”

Final thoughts

“What it boils down to is the environment and hazards the workers are exposed to and what they need for protection,” Meysembourg and Hoffman said. “Understanding what’s driving eye injuries is a must. Is the problem compliance? Are workers in an environment where there’s dust and debris, so they need a foam-lined safety glass or brow protection? User feedback is a great place to start the process.”

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

Coming next month:

  • Head protection

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