Match safety glasses ratings to the application

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safety glasses ratingsWork-related eye injuries account for approximately 3500 emergency hospital visits each year in Victoria alone with consequences varying from infection to partial or permanent blindness.

Of those attending hospital for eye damage caused by metal fragments from grinding or other similar applications, more than half were not wearing safety glasses at the time of the accident, according to research conducted in 2009 by Professor Rasik Vajpayee for The Centre for Eye Research Australia.

Of the 100 patients analysed by Vajpayee during a two month period 97 per cent were male.

He found a lack of personal protection equipment (PPE) and the design safety eyewear were the main causes of injury.

“45 per cent of the injuries occurred while some form of eye protection was worn,” he said, suggesting this may have been due to the presence of gaps between the eyewear and the face.

However the correct use of safety eyewear for a specific application would have prevented many of these injuries from occurring

Aussie tradies should look for eyewear that meets AS/NZS standards and has the “5 Ticks” logo which means the eyewear and manufacturing process has been rigorously tested.

Lenses can be rated for low, medium or high impact resistance and protect against hazards like molten metal, chemical splash or be heat resistant .

Brad Rodgers, product development manager at ProChoice Safety Gear said safety eyewear should be comfortable, not restrict your vision and work well with other PPE

“It comes down to your personal facial shape and preference,” he said, adding that the selection of any PPE should be match the potential hazard.

“If there are chemicals, a lot of dust or people grinding, you need to move towards a heavy duty protection to ensure you have an excellent seal around your eyes,” he said.

Where goggles aren’t required, such as lawn mowing in dusty conditions, the Ambush Foam sealed safety glasses were suggested by Rodgers.

“They almost act as a goggle but are smaller and have a lower profile and still keep the debris particles out of the eyes.”

Rodgers added that being able to see well is as important as fit and to look for lenses with scratch and fog preventative coatings.

“A lot of eye injuries actually happen from vision issues in specs. Guys think, ‘I’ll take them off just to do this task’ and an injury occurs,” Rodgers said.

“When cleaning your lenses, preserve those coatings by using alcohol free wipes,” he added.

Rodgers also said users should decide whether they will  wear their glasses or goggles indoors or outdoors.

“All lenses, even clear, provide 99% UV protection but they don’t cut down the glare,” he said, adding that a smoke lens works best for outdoor-only use and a clear lens with a mirrored coating for a combination of outdoor and indoor use.

“They reflect the glare but still let in light.”

It is the quest for improved vision that led to ProChoice designing their Cyclone Goggles which are rated for chemical splash rand have a spherical lens.

“It provides a greater range of view with the frame pulled back while still keeping the lens away from the eye to reduce fogging,” Rodgers said.

“The indirect venting allows airflow but also time to get the goggles off in the case of a chemical splash.”

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Paramount Safety Products is the name behind the ProChoice brand of high quality Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Paramount Safety Products was founded by the late Rob Bird in 1992 and now employs 45 people throughout an extensive distribution network. Offices and distribution warehouses are located in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

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