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Safety Glasses: Getting the Best Fit

Safety glasses aren’t one size fits all. These tips from PK Safety will help your team get glasses that fit properly.

By: Rick Pedley, Contributor

Your frames should be close to your face but not so close that your eyelashes are touching them. Image courtesy of PK Safety.

Not all eyewear is suited for all jobs. Just about anything that covers your eyes will offer some sort of protection against job hazards, but eyewear that’s not designed for the job at hand won’t offer the range of protection you need. It’s also crucial that your eyewear fits properly: if it doesn’t, you’re at a potentially higher risk for injury. After all, if your glasses don’t properly cover your face and stay on, or if they’re so uncomfortable you decide to take the chance and not wear them at all, you’re not going to experience the full benefits of protection. As many as 90% of recorded eye injuries are the result of poorly fitting eyewear or workers not wearing it at all—don’t let your team become part of that statistic!

Safety eyewear is not “one size fits all.” Everyone has different head and face shapes, which makes it impossible to find one pair of glasses that works for everyone. The ideal pair of glasses should be ergonomic and protect you from hazards specific to your work. When you’re trying out new safety eyewear for the first time, make sure that you review the descriptions, materials and styles, and use this fit guide:

  • There should be no uncomfortable pressure points on the head or behind the ears. Padded temples can provide tension and flexibility for greater comfort.
  • The nose piece should be comfortable and make contact with your nose but not pinch it.
  • You should be able to see in all directions with no major obstructions. If your lenses fog up when in use, they’re the wrong gear for the job. If this is a common issue you face, consider anti-fog lenses.
  • The weight should be evenly distributed between ears and nose. Your frames should fit comfortably on your face without being distracting.
  • Your frames should be close to your face but not so close that your eyelashes are touching them. The space between your frames and your face should be less than the width of a pencil (ideally less than or equal to 6-8mm). Some eyewear is designed with gaps that can be filled with foam padding for a customized fit, but these should be avoided for chemical applications.
  • Lenses should cover the eyebrows and soft tissue around them.
  • The eyewear should stay in place when you move your head from front to back or side to side—if it slides around, it’s not going to stay on securely while you work.

Keep records of inspections and the condition of your eyewear so that you know when it’s time to repair or replace a pair. Image courtesy of PK Safety.

Once your eyewear is properly fitted, make sure to take the following measures. Keep records of inspections and the condition of your eyewear so that you know when it’s time to repair or replace a pair. You should also ensure that the glasses are stored properly and easily accessible so that no one on-site neglects to wear them when their shift starts. Continued worker education can help create a safety culture that knows the importance of properly fitted safety eyewear.

If the safety glasses you chose aren’t able to pass any part of the fit test, keep trying pairs until you find one that does. It’s better to take the time to ensure a perfect fit before an accident and avoid future injuries altogether than to settle for an imperfect or poor fit and hope for the best. WMHS

Rick Pedley is the President and CEO of PK Safety and is a leader in the workplace safety industry that’s been in business for decades. The company’s worker safety experts personally vet every product they sell, which means that the products are trustworthy and truly safe (www.pksafety.com).

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