How Technology Is Changing the Safety Glasses Market for Construction Workers
By Kris Eichelberger, Contributor
Technology is changing the way business is done and nowhere is this more evident than in the construction market.
From the use of more durable, longer lasting materials to lighter weight, more versatile tools, the construction industry is in a constant state of evolution.
While tools and machinery have come a long way, the evolution of PPE, in particular, has produced a significant reduction in work site accidents. A primary reason for this decline is the evolution of the safety eyewear market that has helped workers avoid slips, falls, and trips.
Evolution of Safety Eyewear
Today’s safety eyewear has moved beyond simply offering a shield of protection against flying debris, with the evolution of new scratch resistant, fog-free lenses that offer more clarity and filter against glare. Workers now enjoy a continuous line of sight, which means less of the missteps that often result in workplace accidents.
Safety glass manufacturers have been investing heavily in sophisticated research and development labs that are providing the construction industry with ‘use specific’ safety glasses that are lighter weight and more comfortable to wear than previous versions.
Among the biggest advancements are new lens technologies that prevent fogging and scratches, which for years proved to be a root cause of workforce hazards. Additionally, giving glasses a lighter weight and more comfortable fit means workers are much more likely to wear them all day.
Eyewear for Any Environment
The environments requiring safety eyewear vary widely in light conditions and safety risks, which presents another challenge that modern PPE is designed to meet.
From factories with LED lighting to UV ray exposure from working outside, workers can encounter a variety of hazards throughout the day. High-risk activities like welding, mining, trench work, electrical, and drilling require visual precision while protecting eye health. Working in low light, LED lighting, or full sunlight requires safety glasses designed to reduce eye strain and filter UV rays.
Safety glass lenses are now available in tints, and some with polarization, designed for workers who need to adjust to the varying light conditions that come with working outdoors. For example, Copper and Copper Flash colored polycarbonate lenses protect the eyes of hard-working employees such as forklift truck operators, drivers, and night workers, who operate in factories with LED lighting.
For outdoor activities, including marine and drilling environments or long-distance drivers, Silver Flash, Cobalt Flash, and Fire Flash lenses ensure protection in full sunshine.
For those in low light conditions, Quartz lenses improve depth perception and contrast by increasing visual acuity. Bronze tints enhance vision in low luminosity, including electrical, in mines, and outdoor work. By absorbing over 75% of blue light, visual contrast is improved for better accuracy and safety.
Those who primarily work outdoors, including working construction sites and doing excavation work, may choose dark-colored polarized lenses, which improve visual comfort, contrast, and depth, while reducing strain. A total UV blocker, such as Onyx lenses, filter 99.99% of UVA and UVB rays, which make them ideal for construction and building industries.
Another emerging trend in eye protection is the growth of sealed eyewear. Designed for those who need safety glasses to keep dust and harmful particles out of their eyes, sealed eyewear is ideal for workers on construction and manufacturing sites as well as for those working around chemicals, oil, and gas.
While some may view sealed glasses as something that would easily fog and feel uncomfortable, today’s highly vented versions deliver a new level of comfort.
A key component of these new and improved safety glasses is a foam seal that can be removed and replaced as it becomes worn over time. This removable seal is designed to protect workers’ eyes from flying debris while also allowing for proper air flow.
As the construction industry and its technologies continue to evolve, so should your safety eyewear. Consider how you can upgrade your eye protection equipment to keep yourself and your workers safe in any work environment.
Kris Eichelberger is Director of Sales for U.S. and Mexico, Bollé Safety (bolle-safety.com).
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