Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as eye protection in construction work can play a key role in keeping workers safe and able to carry out their jobs. Selecting the proper PPE, however, is easier said than done. A number of factors come into play during the selection process, from the specific tasks a crew is carrying out, to proper fit and whether a team member requires corrective lenses. Opting for the wrong eye protection can leave a worker at risk of serious injury — or worse.
What They Are: This form of eye protection looks like a simple pair of glasses, with frames that stay in place either by hooking over the ears, or with a strap that wraps around the head.
Ideal For: Safety spectacles serve as go-to eye protection for a range of concrete and construction projects, offering protection against hot temperatures and flying debris such as concrete chips.
Special Considerations: This form of eye protection can be customized to suit a team member’s unique needs, with options including prescription lenses and tints/filters.
What They Are: This form of eye protection might have you recalling the days of high school chemistry classes. Comprised either of one large lens across the front, or two “eyecups,” they are designed to seal the area around the eyes. They stay in place with help from a strap that wraps around the head.
Ideal For: Safety goggles protect the eyes, sockets and surrounding area against dangerous chemicals, dust and flying debris.
Special Considerations: Goggles can feature prescription lenses, and are available in both rigid and flexible varieties. Ventilation holes are another consideration, as vented goggles can help sidestep fogging, but might leave the eye area more vulnerable to splashes or particles.
What They Are: This form of eye protection is somewhat self-explanatory, as it is a clear or tinted shield that covers the entire face. It stays in place with help from mounts attached to hardhats, or with specialized headgear.
Ideal For: Face shields offer protection against numerous hazards, including chemical splashes, heat and optical radiation associated with welding. When used alongside goggles or spectacles, they can also offer protection against flying debris.
Special Considerations: These shields come in a range of thicknesses and tints to serve a team’s specific work. Front windows can be made of either wire-screen or plastic, and some varieties offer lift-front windows.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to eye protection in construction and concrete work. If you’re looking for more information, OSHA’s Eye and Face Protection eTool is a great place to start. The American Optometric Association website also offers helpful information on everything from selecting the right eye protection, to ways to handle and eye injury. Play it safe out there, friends!