Eye Protection: Are You Gambling With Your Eyesight?

Eye Protection…Are You Gambling With Your Eyesight?

There are regulations requiring your employer and supervisor to ensure that you use appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids, caustic gases, vapors or potentially injurious light radiation.  Your employer is to also see that you use eye protection that provides side protection when there is a hazard from flying objects.

Even with company policies and government regulations requiring the use of personal protective equipment, accidents still occur.  Why do these accidents continue to occur?  Employees just aren’t using their safety eyewear.  Reported statistics suggest that three out of every five workers who received eye injuries were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident.  Other reports indicate that individuals were harmed when they wore the wrong kind of eye protection for the job.

You and your supervisor must determine where the eye hazards are located and what kind of equipment will best protect your eyesight.  Look for these typical eye hazards at your worksite:

Dust, mists, fumes, sparks, high heat, flying particles, power tools, extreme cold, molten metal, chemical splash (liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids), welding and brazing.

Always use the right personal protection for the specific eye or face hazard.

Once you have determined the eye hazards, you will need to select the best protection to be used.  Safety eyewear comes in many different types and styles, from glasses with side shields to goggles and helmets.

Types of Protection

  1. Safety Glasses – impact-resistant lenses with side shields that protect against particles that might enter the eyes from the side.
  2. Goggles – protect from impact, dust, and chemical splashes.
  3. Face Shields – not for eye protection. Use for face protection with chemicals, when grinding, or chipping.  Other eye protection also is required.
  4. Welding Shields – fitted with filtered lenses. Protect face and eyes from burns when welding, brazing, soldering, and cutting.

Injuries have occurred by objects or chemicals going around or under the protector when it is loose. When fitting, ensure the eye protection is snug but allows air to circulate between the eye and the lens.


  1. Always wear the proper eye protection and make sure it fits.
  2. Wear goggles under face shields. Shields and welding helmets by themselves do not provide complete eye protection.
  3. Understand when to wear the eye protection and how to properly adjust it. If in doubt, ask your supervisor.
  4. Don’t use tinted safety glasses indoors.
  5. Never look at welding operations without proper protection.
  6. Keep your eye protection equipment clean and in good condition.

Remember, to prevent eye injuries always wear effective eye protection.