Eye injuries are a constant threat on construction sites, so ensuring you have appropriate safety glasses is of utmost importance.
While the Australian Standards do not indicate a set replacement schedule for protective eyewear, at some point, your safety glasses will need to be replaced.
Whether it’s from normal wear and tear, or changes to your circumstances, here are 5 signs that it’s time to get a new pair of safety specs.
1. You’ve recently changed jobs, started a new job or increased your responsibilities to include new tasks.
Choosing protective eyewear is a detailed process that takes into consideration the characteristics of the wearer, task and environment.
In other words, you can’t just pick up any old pair of safety specs and assume they’ll do. Any changes to your work environment or tasks may require a new pair.
Factors to consider include:
- The hazards you’re protecting against.
- Whether safety glasses, goggles, face shields or a combination are appropriate for the task.
- The impact rating of your protective eyewear – low, medium, high or extra high.
- Whether UV protection is necessary.
- The type of lenses and special coatings required, such as amber, clear, smoke, polarised, mirror, indoor/outdoor.
- The frame shape of the eyewear, based on your face shape.
- Whether you require prescription lenses.
- Compliance and certification of the product to Australian and international standards.
The wrong eyewear could increase your risk of an injury, so before you do a few extra jobs around the site, ensure your safety glasses can adequately protect you from all the hazards.
2. Your safety eyewear is damaged.
If your safety specs or goggles get damaged, then they’re unable to do their job of protecting your eyes.
Whether it’s a knock from a projectile that cracks the lens or notable scratches that impair your vision, you don’t want a damaged pair of specs between you and a hazard.
This also applies if you’ve used your safety glasses for a task that they’re not fit for. Exposure to chemicals or heat could compromise the integrity of the equipment, making it unwise to keep using them, even for their intended purpose.
The lifespan of personal protective equipment (PPE) can be affected by a lot of factors, including usage rates, exposure to UV, chemicals, dirt and sweat, and appropriate cleaning and storage.
Consequently, caring for your protective eyewear is an important part of avoiding preventable damage and ensuring that it is always fit for use.
Remember to always check the manufacturer’s instructions for their recommendations for cleaning, maintenance and storage of the product.
3. Your safety eyewear is old.
While we don’t recommend jumping on board with every new fad, new PPE has a lot going for it.
As new technology and materials enter the market, PPE may be reinvented to increase its effectiveness, comfort and fit.
While an old pair of safety specs may have served you well, it’s worth checking out new products to see if you’re missing out on features that could be offering greater protection.
Additionally, any time a Standard is updated, you should double check that your current PPE is still compliant.
4. Your prescription changes.
This one is for all of you out there using prescription safety eyewear. Any time your prescription is updated, you need to get a new pair of safety glasses. No excuses.
And if you’re not having regular eye checks at the optometrist, then you should probably start going again, especially if you’ve noticed yourself squinting or getting headaches.
Being unable to see clearly is not going to help you stay safe.
5. You can’t see clearly and it’s not your eyesight.
Perhaps your lenses stay blurry despite cleaning, they’re always fogging up or the sun’s glare is bothering you more recently.
As safety glasses age, special surface coatings can start to wear away and offer less protection, resulting in reduced clarity of vision.
Just like with prescription lenses, if you can’t see clearly then you need a new pair.
Considering the 5 signs listed above, it time to replace your safety glasses?