The major reasons workers experience eye injuries on the job are because they were not wearing eye protection, they were wearing the wrong kind for the job, or not wearing it properly.


To make the correct decision on the type of protective eye wear to be worn; a thorough understanding of the potential hazards is needed in each workplace. The key hazards are;


Projectiles (concrete, metal, wood and other objects such as staples, nails or shards of broken material).

Chemicals (splashes, fumes and dust particles).

Radiation (visible light, ultraviolet radiation, heat or infrared radiation and lasers).

Biological (for example, Hepatitis or HIV) from blood or other bodily fluids.

Once the hazards are identified the correct choice of safety eye wear can be made. It should be remembered that in a few instances more than one maybe necessary.




Safety glasses must meet AS/NZS 1337. Safety glasses provide eye protection for general working conditions where there may be light dust, chips or flying particles. Additional side protection should be provided by the use of side shields or the wrap-around style frame and lens. Most safety glasses are rated for medium impact situations. High impact eye protection needs to be used in situations where possible projectiles can travel at high speed such as when using nail guns or grinders.




Goggles provide the same benefit as glasses but with better dust and chemical splash protection. In addition, they provide a secure shield around the entire eye and protect against hazards coming from any direction. Goggles are best option for biological and chemical hazards as they provide a better seal around the eye.




Face shields are used to protect workers exposed to chemicals, heat, blood borne pathogens and projectiles. They are generally rated high impact and being further away from the face provide some enhanced protection from high speed projectiles such as ricochet nails or shattered angle grinder disks. They should not be worn alone but in conjunction with safety glasses or goggles as some shields have gaps around the edge, especially those that clip onto the common styles of safety helmets.




A helmet is the best option from when working near hazardous radiation such as welding, situations when grinding and working with molten metals. Fully automatic welding helmets are a good example of the protection available these days.