Technological advances impact safety eyewear.March 6, 2023
By Glyn Jones
Safety Eyewear is Better than Ever
In today’s workplaces, safety eyewear is worn by millions of workers every day. The industries that make the frames and lenses for their safety glasses are well aware of the demand for wearable, industry-specific glasses, which is the reason we are seeing advancements happening faster now than ever before. This is good news for our workforce as these improvements help to increase wearer use and reduce the risk of eye injury at work.
Today’s safety eyewear offers many styles, sizes, and technological advancements, including anti-fog, anti-glare, and increased adjustability. Whether you are in construction working outside in dusty conditions, a drill rig worker working in cold winter conditions, or in a warehouse working under LED lighting, there is a range of products available to meet your needs and protect your eyes at work.
Where to Begin?
Safety eyewear selection starts after you have completed a hazard assessment. This is where you should consider the type of hazard exposure, including flying objects and particles, splashing liquids, molten metal, and ultraviolet, visible, and infrared radiation. When choosing safety eyewear, it is important to select the right type (Class), and for glasses it’s important to consider both the lens and frames.
Tested and Comfortable
Today, comfort is the key. The technological advancements are such that eyewear manufacturers have developed advanced frames and lenses that have gone through exhaustive testing, research, and development to meet performance goals while ensuring the best experience for anyone who wears their safety eyewear. It’s being designed for very specific uses, not the generic type of eyewear of the past. People who work in industrial settings, healthcare industries, indoors or outdoors, and even high-tech cleanrooms, can find eyewear that has been designed specifically for them. This includes options for prescription lenses. The high-tech safety eyewear market is increasingly versatile.
Anti-Fog and Anti-Scratch Technology
Anti-fog and anti-scratch technology is one way the industry has made great improvements. Close-fitting safety eyewear with a high comfort factor is the norm. Reduction in lens distortion and improvements in colour perception by the wearer are key improvements. There is a broader range of tints available in a wider range of safety eyewear products, including glasses and goggles, ensuring better coverage in almost all work environments. These improvements enhance the wearer’s sight, improve visual comfort, and optimize contrast. We also see an increase the wearer’s precision, allowing for increased productivity, while reducing the likelihood of workplace incidents.
Whether UV exposure, glares, LED, welding gas, or low contrasts, the hazards are as various as job applications, and each requires its specific solution with a light transmission that provides the best trade-off between clarity and visual comfort. The application of tinting ensures we can find the right lens for the job.
While working outdoors, the lighting may be too bright. These employees need guaranteed protection against intense brightness and UV rays to ensure optimal vision even in direct sunlight. For outdoor use, the variety of conditions demands many lens tints and technologies. The traditional smoke lens acts similar to normal sunglasses and can block as much as 99.9% of the incident UV. The shading ranges from dark grey to brown to meet every wearer’s preference. This is a great improvement in visual comfort while reducing eye strain. Polarized lenses are also more readily available. This lens type minimizes glare and improves overall visibility.
When working indoors, the lighting is often too dim. There are a range of tinted lenses available to increase visual acuity in low light. Lighter colour tints, such as yellow, amber, and copper, brighten up vision and make it easier to see in low light. For other indoor-use applications there are many safety eyewear choices that block blue light, which can help reduce eye strain.
CSA Performance Standards
All of this is possible thanks to the performance standards set out in Canadian Standards Association CAN/CSAZ94.3 Industrial Eye and Face Protectors. In fact, most legislation specifies that any safety eyewear being worn is CSA approved. Safety eyewear that meets this standard must pass a series of tests such as an impact resistance test for the frames and lenses. Equipment built to this specification optimize vision and guarantee maximized visual acuity. The CSA logo and other relevant markings will be visible on the lens and frame or body of the safety eyewear. Beware of products that call themselves “safety glasses” but don’t have the requisite safety marks.
If you’re required, or even prefer, to wear safety glasses and haven’t looked at how the industry has evolved over the past few years, take another look. You may be surprised at just how helpful, comfortable, and functional your safety eyewear can be.
Eyesafe is continually adding to our catalogue, so be sure to know your current options when making safety eyewear decisions.