Emergency Preparedness and Response

Safety Specs or Goggles? Picking the Perfect PPE

The type of protection you choose for your workers should depend on the specific hazard facing the employees. Here are examples of typical eye and face PPE and when they are used:

Safety Spectacles

This type of PPE is the most common and offers basic protection. These glasses have protective frames made of plastic or metal and often have flat or cupped side shields. Safety spectacles also may be fitted with corrective lenses. Employees should wear safety spectacles when working around flying particles or when exposed to impact hazards. Safety spectacles also protect employees who work with molten metal or in high-temperature environments.

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Goggles fit securely over employee’s eyes, creating a protective seal. The lenses of goggles protect against moderate impacts. Employees with prescription glasses may wear cover goggles over their glasses. Goggles should be used by employees exposed to dust and flying particles, such as during woodworking operations, or those who work around heat hazards. It is important to use this type of PPE when working with chemicals to prevent eye injuries from splashes or vapors. Employees may select ventilated goggles to prevent fogging while also protecting against dust particles.

Face Shields

This type of PPE is a transparent plastic window or wire screen. The thickness of the shield depends on the degree of the hazard. Employees may use face shields to protect against impacts to the eyes but also should wear safety spectacles or goggles under their shields. Face shields protect against flying particles and splashes of chemicals or caustic liquids. Face shields may be used in conjunction with safety spectacles or goggles by employees working with molten metal and heat hazards such as sparks. Employees also may use hard hats or headgear fitted with protective face shields. Employees should make sure that the PPE fits securely and will not slip off while working.

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Welding Protection

Heat-resistant face shields made of vulcanized rubber or fiberglass with a filter lens protect employees from injurious light radiation as well as flying sparks or metal pieces. The filter lens must have a shade number that will adequately protect the employee’s eyes from the specific light radiation faced.

Laser Protection

Lasers expose employees to injuries from light radiation, so workers should use laser safety spectacles or goggles. Employers should select PPE that protects against the maximum intensity produced by the type of lasers used.

OSHA requires employers to train and retrain employees on using and maintaining their eye and face protection.

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1 thought on “Safety Specs or Goggles? Picking the Perfect PPE”

  1. Physical or chemical injuries of the eye can be a serious threat to vision if not treated appropriately and in a timely fashion. The most obvious presentation of ocular (eye) injuries is redness and pain of the affected eyes. This is not, however, universally true, as tiny metallic projectiles may cause neither symptom.

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