Eye Protection Gear and Equipment

Learn more about common eye hazards and how to best protect your eyes at work.

man wearing eye protection equipment while working

What is Eye Protection Equipment?

Eye protection equipment is a type of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) meant for shielding your eyes and parts of your head. These are often used when conducting work with hazards to the eyes. Some jobs where eye protection is necessary include welding, chemical testing, manufacturing, and those that involve electrical wiring.

What is the Importance of Eye Protection Equipment?

Our eyes are delicate organs that require proper care and protection, as they are some of the most sensitive parts of our bodies. Thus, wearing the right eye protection PPE is essential to working safely. By wearing the appropriate eye protection gear, we can effectively shield our eyes from potential hazards and reduce the risk of accidents.

The main purpose of wearing eye protection is to prevent eye injuries and permanent eye damage. Specifically, they protect you by doing the following:

  • Reducing the effect of glare from overly bright work tasks or flashes of light
  • Avoiding allergens and irritants from entering the eyes
  • Shielding your eyes from particles that can hurt you
  • Keeping your eyes focused on the task at hand, which can reduce the likelihood of other mishaps
  • Preventing chemical burns in the eyes and the skin around it

In many countries, wearing eye protection is also a legal requirement for certain jobs that deal with multiple eye hazards, such as those involved in laboratories, manufacturing, construction, healthcare, and welding. If an employer is found not enforcing these legal requirements properly, they can be punished by law. 

Some countries with specific laws and regulations on the proper wearing of eye protection include:

Most Common Eye Hazards

Some of the most common eye hazards that wearing eye protection gear can help you with include the following:

  • Corrosive and chemical items
  • Radioactive materials 
  • Biological hazards in any form
  • High-intensity light sources such as those from lasers, welding, brazing, cutting, furnaces, and heat-treating materials
  • Machinery that performs tasks such as cutting, grinding, polishing, and others that generate particles and dust
  • Electrical hazards
  • Liquids that are easy to splash and create a mess from
  • Excessive heat, dust, light, UV rays, and glare

Types of Eye Protection

The most used kinds of eye protection can be divided into three types: safety glasses, safety goggles, and face shields. Here is a quick overview of each one for reference: 

Safety Glasses

This is the most common type of eye protection equipment as it is used in almost all industries in different forms. Compared to typical glasses, safety glasses are made with more durable materials that can withstand more wear and tear, as well as extreme changes in weather conditions, work conditions, and the like. 

Safety Goggles

This type of eye protection works similarly to safety glasses and sometimes gets mistaken for it. However, safety goggles are considered to be more durable and provide more protection from hazards such as harsh chemical spills, uncontrollable flying debris, and harmful vapors or mists. 

Safety goggles come in two kinds:

  • Vented safety goggles: For protection against liquids, vapors, and mists with little to moderate danger
  • Non-vented safety goggles: For protection against liquids, vapors, mists, and other hazards that must not touch the eye or skin at all costs

Face Shields

This type of eye protection provides the most protection to the face and eyes. However, it should not be used alone. Face shields are to be used with safety glasses or goggles underneath, serving as additional protection by catching any debris, liquid, or particles that may splash elsewhere on the face. 

Roselin Manawis
Article by
Roselin Manawis
Roselin Manawis is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture. She has experience in news writing and content marketing across different fields of discipline. Her background in Communication Arts enables her to leverage multimedia and improve the quality of her work. She also contributed as a research assistant for an international study and as a co-author for two books in 2020. With her informative articles, she aims to ignite digital transformation in workplaces around the world.