Safety goggles are a critical—and often overlooked—safety precaution in various industries. When used correctly, they safeguard employees from eye injuries, from mild irritation to blindness. Learn more about the importance of safety goggles, how they differ from safety glasses, and when you should wear them.
Safety Glasses vs. Goggles: What’s the Difference?
Safety glasses and safety goggles may seem like interchangeable terms, but they describe two different types of protective eyewear. Here are the key differences between the two that illustrate the importance of safety goggles:
Glasses: Safety glasses cover your eyes and prevent potential hazards from hitting them. However, they don’t sit flush with your face, and flying debris or chemical fumes can get through the gaps.
Goggles: Unlike glasses, safety goggles sit against the skin and provide a higher level of protection around the eyes. A strap holds them in place, so no chemical fumes or flying objects can get through. Goggles are perfect for applications where employees might experience a chemical splash or irritation from airborne chemicals.
Safety glasses are sufficient in many low-risk applications, but we can’t overstate the importance of safety goggles when handling chemicals.
Types of Safety Goggles
The type of safety goggles you need depends on your level of exposure to chemicals and fumes. These are the two most common options that provide chemical and impact protection without interfering with your employees’ vision.
If your employees are at risk of chemical splashes or spills but don’t need complete protection against fumes, indirect-vented goggles are an excellent safety eyewear option. These anti-fog goggles have several vents around the frames that allow air to flow in and out. Because these vents are covered, they protect from splashing, but they can’t keep toxic fumes out.
Indirect vented goggles are ideal for employees that need long-term eye protection. Compared to non-vented goggles, they’re much more comfortable to wear. However, if vapor exposure is a concern, it’s important for safety goggles to be vent-free.
There is no safe level of ventilation if your employees work in areas with toxic fumes. For complete protection from the outside air, you should opt for non-vented goggles that form an impermeable seal. Non-vented goggles provide the highest level of protection against airborne dust, caustic vapors, and splashes.
Non-vented goggles tend to fog up more quickly than indirect-vented goggles, so they’re not as suitable for extended wear.
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Eye injuries may not seem all that common, but 2,000 eye injuries occur in the workplace each day. It only takes one flying object or chemical splash to inflict serious damage. And while many eye injuries are minor, some employees permanently lose their vision after workplace accidents.
Wearing safety goggles is an easy and efficient way to prevent potentially life-changing injuries, and it benefits employers. You can avoid workers’ compensation claims and days off work by encouraging goggle use. Additionally, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to require safety glasses with side shields or safety goggles in specific settings.
When Should You Wear Safety Goggles?
It’s important for safety goggles to be worn when employees are exposed to the following:
Flying objects, such as sparks or debris
Harsh chemicals, such as those found in cleaning products
Fine particles, like dust
Fumes from lab work or vaporous chemicals
When in doubt, always encourage your employees to wear goggles. It’s better to exercise caution than risk a serious injury.
Axiom Products: A Leading Provider of Chemical Handling Safety Equipment
At Axiom, we understand how important your employees’ safety is. That’s why we offer several safety goggles that are scratch-resistant, lightweight, and durable. Our safety goggles fit over most prescription glasses so that all employees can use our products. We also provide other safety products, such as gloves and rinsing nozzles, to keep employees safe. Contact us today to learn more about the importance of safety goggles.