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Construction - Eye Protection


People with jobs that have high risk for eye injury—like construction, carpentry and manufacturing—no longer have to look like Poindexter with a tool belt when donning safety glasses. Protective eyewear is sleeker, more stylish than ever. Tinted and mirrored lenses, wraparound side shields, and sporty head grips are a surprise boon for on-the-job safety.


Safety eyewear has gone from looking like Buddy Holly glasses with wire mesh to any number of appealing styles. If people feel cool in their glasses, they’ll wear them and that reduces injuries.


Two thousand workers injure their eyes on the job each day in the U.S. What's more, work-related eye injuries are the number one cause of visual impairments and blindness nationally.


Flying debris like dust and wood, chemical splashes, sparks, hanging or swinging objects, and glare are common dangers that can be avoided with the proper eye protection.


Your best defense against eye injury is wearing protective eyewear. Eye injuries happen when people fail to wear eye protection or wear the wrong kind of eyewear for the job.


The same safety mindfulness applies for do-it-yourself home projects. Anytime you’re using a hand or power tool or working with chemicals, you should be wearing safety glasses.


Regardless of how far safety eyewear has come in terms of attractiveness, wouldn't you rather be a fashion victim, than damage or lose vision in either eye. What’s key is to get in the habit of wearing safety eyewear—at all times—whenever there’s a potential hazard.


Shopping guidelines


  • Look for ANSI Z87. This American National Standards Institute marking indicates the eyewear—lenses and frame—meets safety ratings for design and construction. Sunglasses won’t provide the same protection, which can easily shatter or bend upon impact.
  • Test drive for a comfortable fit. Faces come in different shapes and sizes, so do glasses. Glasses should fit securely without interfering with movement or vision. If employers are buying in bulk, buy a variety of styles for workers to try on.
  • Harmonize with the hazard. Eye protection is designed for particular hazards. For instance, if you’re working with machinery, wear glasses with side shields. Choose goggles to protect against chemical splash. Amber-tinted lenses increase contrast for indoor work and ultraviolet protection is a must for outdoors.
  • Pick polycarbonate. Polycarbonate lenses are stronger than glass or plastic. Plus, they’re lightweight and not likely to fog.
  • Browse industrial safety suppliers. While hardware stores carry eye protection, offerings are slim. For a larger selection, browse industrial safety supplier catalogs or Web sites.
  • Don’t pinch pennies. The five plus bucks spent on protective eyewear is cheap investment compared to the thousands associated with an eye injury. There’s no price tag for your vision.