Weekly Safety Meeting – Eye and Face Protection

Eye injuries occur in American workplaces every single day. No matter where you work, flying particles, dusts, splashes, or flying objects are apt to expose you to potential eye injury. Fortunately, we can protect against these hazards by using the appropriate protective eyewear for our job tasks.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals that minor eye injuries occurring on the job occur from the following causes:

  • Not wearing eye protection at the time of the job injury incident; and
  • Wearing the wrong kind of eye protection for the job task when the job injury occurred.

Those who wore the wrong kind of protection were wearing some form of eye protection, however most were wearing eyeglasses without side shields. There were injuries among employees wearing full-cup or flat-fold side shields as well.

Types of Protection:

  • Safety Glasses—impact-resistant lenses with side shields that protect against particles that might enter the eyes from the side;
  • Goggles—protect from impact, dust, and chemical splashes; and
  • Face Shields—not for eye protection, use for face protection with chemicals, when grinding, or chipping. Additional levels of eye protection also are required.

Causes of Eye and Face Injuries:

  • Splashes from harmful liquid chemicals such as acids or cleaning solutions;
  • Flying debris, chips, and dust from grinding and windy conditions;
  • Flying projectiles from objects colliding, falling, or being dumped;
  • Loose straps, cords, or banding that breaks or snaps under extreme tension; and
  • Extreme heat and light radiation from exposure to flames, welding, or torches.

BLS found that almost 70% of the accidents studied resulted from flying or falling objects, or sparks striking the eye. Injured workers estimated that nearly three-fifths of the objects were smaller than a pinhead. Most of the particles were said to be traveling faster than a hand-thrown object when the accident occurred.

Reduce Eye Hazards:

  • Use engineering controls (best) such as machine guards that prevent the escape of particles or welding curtains for arc flash protection.
  • Use administrative controls (good) such as making certain areas “off limits” unless that is your work assignment area or putting passageways out of active work zones.
  • Use the proper protective eyewear (required but doesn’t remove all risk). Safety Eye and Face Protection:
  • Safety eye and face protection includes non-prescription and prescription safety glasses, clear or tinted goggles, faceshields, welding helmets, and some full-face type respirators that meet the ANSI Z87.1 Eye and Face Protection Standard.
  • The safety eyewear must have “Z87” or “Z87+” marked on the frame and, in some cases, the lens.

Prescription Glasses:

If you wear prescription glasses, you must also wear one of the following when eye hazards are present:

  • Goggles or other protective devices designed to fit over your prescription glasses; or
  • Prescription protective eyewear that was made to specific prescription.

Care of Eye Protection:

  • To prevent scratching the lens, take care when setting your eye protection down or putting it away for the day.
  • Replace the lens or get new glasses when scratches on the lens become noticeable.
  • Clean eye protection regularly at the eye protection cleaning station, if available. Or use water and a soft absorbent towel such as a paper towel. Don’t use your shirt or a rag that collects and holds dirt. It will scratch the lens.


Always give your eyes the highest possible level of protection. The right personal protective equipment (PPE) will give your eyes the greatest protection against all possible hazards. Inspect and maintain your PPE to prevent damage to your eyes.

Download flyer: SMOTW_945_Eye-and-Face-Protection

Download Spanish flyer: SMOTW_945_Eye-and-Face-Protection_esp

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