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Eye Protection at Work: Types of Protective Eyewear

Job safety may require different protection and procedures than described here. Follow your employer's safety instructions and procedures.

Your employer selects the appropriate protective eyewear for the hazards you face on the job. Depending on your job, you may need tinted lenses, goggles, a face shield, or a welding helmet for added protection. If you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, ask your employer about protective eyewear requirements.

Fit of Protective Eyewear

In order to be effective, your protective eyewear must fit properly. Many glasses have parts that are adjustable for comfort. Be sure your eyewear fits you well and is worn correctly.

  • Safety glasses with side shields provide protection for the sides of your eyes. They must be used when flying-object hazards are present.

  • Face shields (used with other eye protection) protect your entire face. They do not provide adequate eye protection alone. They must be worn over other protective eyewear (such as safety glasses or goggles).

  • Goggles with regular (direct) ventilation fit snugly around your eyes. They should be worn in dusty environments or when a hazard could strike you from one of many angles.

  • Goggles with hooded (indirect) ventilation have indirect openings to block dust and chemical splashes. They may be used in lab work, work with molten materials, or for other eye splash hazards.

  • Welding helmets fit over safety glasses or goggles. They may have clear or tinted lenses—ask your supervisor which lens is right for your job.

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