Not all workplace safety eyewear is created equal

March 15, 2017

The right fit with the right equipment for the right person and job… is critical.

Sometimes the most important things in our lives are things we take for granted. Like our vision. Wake up in the morning. Open our eyes. And there the world is. But imagine waking up and having that vision impaired… or gone altogether. Obviously, not something we want to think about. But it’s something we just can’t ignore.

Eye safety in the workplace is not optional. It’s mandatory. It’s what we call “table stakes”.
Gotta have it. To keep your workforce healthy, enthusiastic and productive. To avoid a breakdown in operations, and to keep your revenues flowing.  We all understand that.
And yet, accidents still happen.

Every day over 700 Canadian workers suffer eye injuries on the job (“Eye Safety at Work”, CNIB) —often leading to temporary or permanent vision loss. Every day. These injuries can be costly—from loss of work days, reduced productivity and profit, to expensive medical care and rehabilitation. Not to mention the potential impact on insurance rates and worker compensation.

Workplace eye injuries are common, but also preventable. With the right protective eyewear and workplace safety practices, eye injuries can be avoided or minimized.  But here’s the thing…not all safety eyewear is created equal.

When we talk about safety in eye health, as with anything else, we need to talk about what provides the most safety in any given situation. That means avoiding casual solutions and thrown together measures. When we say “right” we mean eyewear that is properly selected and fitted for the person and the job.

In today’s workplace there are more potential eye hazards than ever. From projectiles and chemicals to forms of radiation or exposure to infectious diseases—the modern work environment has all sorts of new and nasty things that can hurt your eyes.

As you know… the most common hazards include foreign objects such as flying wood or metal chips, concrete, dust and other particles which can cause cuts and scrapes to the cornea and other damage. Plus, chemical splashes and fumes, splattered oil and grease, steam burns etc. But as industry and technology advances, there’s more and more exposure to damaging light, ultraviolet, heat or infrared radiation, lasers, etc. People who work in clean-up, health care or laboratories face the additional hazard of exposure to disease, bloodborne pathogens from blood and body fluids, respiratory particles and contaminating waste that can come in contact with the eyes in a variety of ways. Not good.

These hazards are obviously problematic—especially if workers feel that they don’t need protection or are unaware of the particular danger. Personal protective eyewear such as goggles, face shields and safety glasses are critical to safety. But wearing the wrong kind of protection is also dangerous. Providing a false sense of safety when there may be little or none.

The best protection happens when a worker can find and get fitted for the right type of glasses for the person and the working conditions. And that means avoiding the “goggles over glasses” solution as well. For anyone who wears prescription glasses, prescription safety eyewear—dispensed by a Doctor of Optometry—is simply the best safety option. The added benefit of vision care professionals who provide proper eye exams, is that they can also detect and help diagnose a wide range of health risks, including diabetes, high blood pressure and even certain cancers. That’s a good thing.

One more thing: Contemporary safety eyewear can actually look good. Eyesafe works with major manufacturers and offers a wide range of frames in a variety of styles. These products and accessories meet industry standards (CSA and ANSI) so safety requirements, even for fashionable looks, are assured.


These standards are at the heart of the Eyesafe program and the services we provide to companies—so they can bring the highest standard of safety, value and professional care to their employees.

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