What Happens When You Don’t Wear Safety Glasses?

Your hands, feet, and head are the only organs that require PPE for workplace protection – says who? What about the eyes? Did you know that eye injury at the workplace is fatal? They can even make you blind. 

If only workers wear the right safety glasses, the eyes can be protected from damage. If you don’t wear safety glasses, it can cause permanent loss of vision, eye injuries that might leave you unfit to carry out your work anymore, and hefty medical bills that’ll be too hard to settle. 

ANSI sets prevention guidelines for safety glasses at work. Buying safety goggles that are ANSI-approved is another necessity. They’re the glasses that are tested against various hazards like chemicals, wood splinters, rays from welding, sharp objects, and much more. 

What Happens When You Don't Wear Safety Glasses

Why Do You Need Workplace Safety Goggles – What Happens If You Don’t Wear Them? 

Workplace safety is the most essential aspect for the following industries:

      • Drilling and sawing 
      • Hammering
      • Electrical and mechanical repairs 
      • Construction
      • Sanding and dusting
      • Oil and gas 

These are but a few examples. To put it simply, every industry that sends dust or splinters (sparks even) flying all around requires the protection of safety goggles.

The ANSI mandates that it is the responsibility of every employer to make sure that the staff is wearing ANSI-approved safety goggles depending upon the nature of the work inside the company’s premises. 

If you don’t wear safety goggles at work and you think your normal eye glasses or contact lenses will protect you, then you’re up for very harsh learning.

Normal eye glasses and contacts lenses add up to the risk of making an injury more serious. We’ll walk you through the how’s and why’s in a later section. Let’s first find out what would happen if you don’t wear safety glasses at work. 

Not wearing safety glasses at work is a big mistake. Here’s why:

1.) Splinters from wood and sparks and flames during mechanical repair and welding are very dangerous. If they hit the retina of the eye, you can go completely blind. 

2.) Cuts from splinters, glass, and minuscule pieces of flying metal can cause serious injuries. They might not leave you blind, but they will still leave the eyesight compromised. 

3.) Damage to the cornea and retina requires very expensive surgeries with no guarantee that your eyes would be as good as they were before the accident. 

4.) Even if you were lucky enough to not go completely blind, a compromised vision at work might leave you unfit to work in the same sector ever again. 

Not wearing safety glasses at work has led to many fatal injuries. Not everybody has been lucky to laugh it off later on. Workers lose their vision and their ability to earn a living. The scary medical bills only add to the miserable plight. 

If you won’t wear safety glasses at work, you will most certainly end up in a hospital bed. The worst, getting workers’ compensation in the US is no joke. 

Contact Lenses and Normal Eyeglasses: Do They Offer Protection?

The answer to this question is, No. They’re worn to give you a 6X6 vision that’s very important while working. But, not wearing safety goggles while wearing contacts lenses or spectacles is a bigger mistake. 

1.) Dust and liquid will instantly get trapped underneath the contact lenses you’re wearing. Whilst you would have had the option to immediately wash your eyes after an accident, if you’re wearing contact lenses, you’ll lose precious time. By the time you’ll manage to get them off, most of the damage will already be done. 

2.) Splinters and sharp metal pieces can get your spectacles to shatter in no time. In such cases, the probability of glass pieces from your specs cutting through your eyes is very very high. 

Needless to add any further information on why you need safety goggles at work despite wearing contact lenses and your usual vision glasses. 

ANSI Z87.1 Marking for Safety Goggles: Is it Important to Wear ANSI Compliant Safety Goggles Only? 

When you read the word ANSI Z87.1 engraved on the safety goggles you’re wearing at work, you’re actually wearing the guarantee of protection from many workplace hazards that could have otherwise harmed your eyes. 

During ANSI Z87.1 compliance testing, the following parameters are ascertained. 

1.) A very sharp spike is held at 127 cm of height. It’s dropped on the goggles with full force. The glass should be able to resist an impact of up to 500 grams.  

2.) A very pointed needle of 1.56 oz is held at 127 cm of height. When dropper, It shouldn’t penetrate the glass whatsoever. 

So, when you read the ANSI Z87.1 marking on your safety goggles, it means that that surface is resistant to penetration and shattering. 

The bottom line is that only those safety goggles that have the ANSI Z87.1 marking are able to offer protection. 

What Features Do ANSI-compliant Safety Goggles Offer? 

The ANSI-compliant safety goggles are the ultimate protection for the safety of your eyes at the workplace. The different features that these goggles offer are as follows. 

1.) They’re fog-resistant. It’s a big advantage since clouded vision can cause accidents. 

2.) They’re shatter-resistant and penetration-resistant. Whether you’re working with wood or metals, the sharp particles from the source will not damage your eyes. (Best Safety Glasses For Metal Work)

3.) They’re scratch-resistant. The surface clarity isn’t compromised in any way.

4.) They’re resistant to spills, splashes, and liquids. 

5.) They will protect your eyes from coming in direct contact with the sparks that flow while welding.

However, it’s important to be realistic. Most of the ANSI Z87.1 compliant safety goggles do not offer protection from bacteria or viruses. 

The ANSI Z87.1 compliant safety glasses and face shields offer protection by working as an impenetrable barrier between your eyes and solid particles and liquid splashes. It means they protect your eyes physically.

4 Industry-Specific Safety Glasses That Are Better Options

Sometimes, your work requires protection from the front only. And sometimes, the eyes require protection from the front and sides. Keeping in mind all such requirements, manufacturers have designed 4 different types of safety goggles that are industry-specific. 

Let’s have a look at those options!

1.) Polycarbonate Protection Goggles – These are the best options for welders and mechanics. When tinted, they offer protection from UV damage and heat too. They’re less preferred in industries where the chances of developing scratches are very high. 

2.) The CR 39 Safety Goggles – They’re better options when the eyes require maximum protection from solvents and liquids. 

3.) The Trivex Safety Goggles – They’re almost as good as polycarbonate protection goggles. But, they’re an expensive option since their optical clarity is better. 

4.) The Custom Made Safety Goggles – It’s also an option to get your safety goggles customized if your work involves risk from highly hazardous chemicals, optical radiations, and fumes rising from fully concentrated acids and solvents. 

Ensuring That Safety Goggles for Work Protect The Eyes 

You purchased the best goggles out there and the most expensive ones. You made sure that they were fully in compliance with the ANSI Z87.1 regulations. Yet, somehow, the glasses failed to offer protection when the accident happened? These scenarios do happen. 

That’s, however, not the fault of the safety goggles. In order to make sure that the best goggles offer protection, you have to ensure the following things when you purchase these glasses. 

1.) Make sure they fit you and you’re comfortable with the type of back closure they have. Hockey, Cable, Headband, and Spatula are the few options. Only when you’re comfortable with the closure that you’ll be able to wear the goggles for a long time. 

2.) Make sure that the goggles don’t drop or slide down your nose again and again. It will expose the eyes to all sorts of dangers. 

3.) Make sure you get them customized with additional protection if you work in extremely hazardous chemical industries. 

4.) Always wear a safety helmet or goggles with side shields if there’s a possibility of particles hitting you with a very high velocity. 

Concluding Thoughts:

If you don’t wear safety glasses at the workplace, you put your eyes at the risk of fatal injuries. You can go blind or hurt your retina and cornea in such a way that even if the vision doesn’t go away completely, you’ll still be unfit to carry forward with your current job. 

It is important to wear ANSI Z87.1 compliant safety goggles since they are tested for all kinds of hazards. Lastly, ensure that the size fits you. 

These careful considerations will make sure you don’t invite unnecessary workplace injuries. 

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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