What Are the Best Construction Safety Glasses?

Posted by Bridget Reed on

Saying a particular place is “like a construction zone” usually implies a safety warning. “Hard hat required” is no joke. 

There are hazards in a construction zone, and many of them can permanently impact our health. For your eyes, that permanent impact could mean losing your vision or impairing it so much that it costs you your job. 

Construction workers are used to working around hazards. They wear personal protective equipment, like hard hats, daily to ensure they are safe. However, many construction workers fail to wear protective eyewear. Considering the high risks, it’s vital to solve this problem and keep their eyes protected.

At Stoggles, we understand how important it is to protect your eyes, but we understand that equally important is your comfort and appearance. If you aren’t comfortable and satisfied with your eyewear, you aren’t going to wear it, and it isn’t going to protect you. Uncomfortable eyewear are like work boots with holes in them or hard hats made of jello — totally useless.

Let’s talk about the risks you face on your construction site, what the statistics are as they relate to eye injuries, and what you need in terms of safety eyewear. 

At Stoggles, we consider ourselves builders in our own way. Instead of building, we built the perfect safety eyewear with style, support, and… a third alliterative word. 

Construction: What Are the Risks?

Construction sites in cartoons are riddled with falling pianos, falling safes, and for some reason, falling crates of dynamite. In the real world, that doesn’t seem to happen quite as often (or at all). 

Even if you aren’t plagued by falling pianos, accidents can still happen. Even with all the safety measures taken, accidents happen — no one is perfect. 

Here’s a look at the top five hazards on a construction site (pianos and dynamite not included):

1. Dust

More than flying objects or rogue jackhammers, dust is one of the most hazardous substances on a construction site. Sawing, grinding, and mixing cement and other compounds result in massive amounts of dust potentially making first contact with your eyeball. 

Depending on the substance, dust can cause eye redness and irritation, and even corneal abrasions. If you get dust in your eyes, you’ll need to head to the first aid station to rinse your eyes and free them of as much dust as possible. 

Safety eyewear can protect your eyes from dust and ensure you can stay at your post (...but only if you are actually wearing your safety glasses).

2. Flying Objects

Nails, cut wires, shards of metal, and glass, oh my! If you’ve ever spent any amount of time on a construction site, you know that it doesn’t take a human to send flying objects into the air. A good wind gust can send loose materials sailing into your eyes.

Depending on the speed with which an object strikes your eye, you can sustain serious damage. Small projectiles may cut or scratch your eye, but larger projectiles could even destroy your orbital socket. 

Safety glasses worn on the construction site should be impact resistant. The gold standard for impact resistance on a construction site is the ANSI Z87.1-2020 certification.

ANSI certification involves two essential tests:

  1. High mass impact test. During this test, a pointed, weighted object is dropped from a height of 50 feet onto the lenses of the glasses. To pass the test, they can’t shatter or break. 

  2. High-velocity impact test. The high-velocity impact test involves firing a small ball bearing at the glasses at a high speed. The glasses can’t break or shatter to pass the impact test. This is the one glass ceiling that we don’t want to break. 

ANSI works with OSHA to ensure that workplaces, including construction sites, are safe for workers by implementing safety practices and ensuring the personal protective equipment that is used meets appropriate standards. 

3. Toxic Sprays and Chemicals

Whether you’re painting, using adhesives, or working with cleaning chemicals, the chance for liquids to infiltrate your eye area on a construction site is high. Depending on the chemical, you could lose your vision or seriously impair it if you don’t protect your eyes properly. 

To keep your eyes safe from sprays and chemicals, you need safety glasses that have side and top shields. Regular eyeglasses and sunglasses have gaps at the top and sides that would allow chemicals and sprays, spills, and splatters to enter your eyes.

No shade to other glasses, but we’re built different: Side and top shields ensure that you’re protected from liquids all-around your eyes, not just in the very front. 

4. UV Rays and Blue Light

Let’s talk about a bright solution to combat bright lights: 

Not all construction sites are outdoors, but many are. When you are exposed to ultraviolet rays, your eyes need protection. UV rays age every structure in your eye, making it more likely for you to develop conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration earlier in your life. 

You might be like, “Well, I’ll just wear my sunglasses.” However, your sunglasses are probably not ANSI/OSHA approved and are liable to shatter, and the last thing you want is for your vintage aviator glasses to be destroyed. Plus, without side or top shields, debris has direct access to your eyes.

While yes, sunglasses do block UV rays, sometimes you don’t want a dark tint. For example, perhaps you’re building a cool underground entrance to a cool, mysterious library. You’re ten feet underground, but with your sunglasses on, you can’t tell your Allen wrench from your socket wrench.

That’s where naturally UV-blocking eyewear comes in handy. You can see through the elaborate tunnel, but when you head back to the surface, you still have some UV blocking abilities with your safety glasses.

The sun isn’t the only source of UV rays on a construction site. Welding arcs are another source of UV rays that require eye protection. Even if you aren’t directly working with welding equipment, if you are nearby, you should make sure your eyes are protected. 

In addition to UV light, blue light is another high-energy light source that can travel to the back of the eye and reach the retina. Blue light comes from the sun, but also from sources like televisions, smartphones, LED televisions, and light bulbs. 

Safety eyewear with protective UV and blue light blocking technology is essential in keeping your eyes safe from high-energy light waves. 

5. Heat, Weather, and Fogging

No matter the weather, sometimes the job has to get done. In this case, you need safety glasses that will stand up to the elements. The most inconvenient obstruction you can experience with eyewear is lens fogging. 

New ANSI standards require safety eyewear to be treated with anti-fogging chemicals to earn their certification. Fogging glasses present a safety issue and a quality of performance issue. Plus, fogging glasses just look terrible in pictures.

  • Safety. Fogging glasses must be removed to be wiped down. Normally, a worker doesn’t think to relocate to a safe place to remove the glasses. In some cases, the worker may not be able to see well enough to walk to a safe place to remove their glasses.

In both instances, the worker will remove the glasses and wipe them down at their job site, leaving their eyes unprotected. Also, do you really want to touch your eyes with your cement-coated hands? Yeah, neither do we. 

  • Quality of performance. When glasses fog, a worker is immediately taken off task. Without clear vision, continuing your construction work is not safe. Glasses that fog require immediate attention and take a worker off tasks multiple times. Over time, this can seriously impact production and the quality of work produced. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but with anti-fog eyewear, it might have been.

Anti-fog lenses are the solution for heat, humidity, and weather. Unlike anti-fog wipes, which only keep fogging at bay for short periods of time, anti-fog lenses offer a permanent solution. 

Let’s Back Up the Facts With Stats.

Injuries are a big concern on construction sites, and safety measures are implemented to prevent them from happening. In terms of eye injuries, the statistics are alarming. 

According to the CDC, more than 10,600 eye injuries occur each year on construction sites. They note that the rate of eye injuries on a construction site is higher than in any other profession. Considering some people are professional javelin throwers, that’s pretty concerning.

The Source of Pain: Causes of Injuries on Construction Sites

Why are eye injuries happening so frequently on construction sites? The problem is twofold. 

  1. Workers aren’t wearing eye protection. Whether the complaint is that the eyewear is too bulky, heavy, uncomfortable, hot, or just not aesthetically appealing, many people on the construction site simply forgo their protective eyewear.

  2. If you aren’t wearing your protective eyewear, you’re risking your vision while at work. The truth hurts (and so do eye injuries).

  3. Workers are wearing the wrong kind of eye protection. Ensuring you’re wearing the correct type of eyewear for the risks you’re exposed to is key in keeping your eyes safe and protected. 

These two issues combine to create a perfect storm that places construction workers’ eyes in danger. 

Cells and the Retina: One Time Offer

Besides the obvious (that no one wants to get hurt on the job), eye health is a really complex issue. The cells in the retina which are responsible for our sight don’t regenerate, which means when they’re damaged, vision loss is often non-repairable. 

While science may one day convince our retinal cells to regenerate, it hasn’t done so yet. Because much of our quality of life and livelihood relies on our clear and healthy vision, it’s crucial to keep our eyes protected at all times when we’re around eye hazards. 

What You Need in Construction Safety Glasses

The risks are high, so your safety eyewear needs to be able to protect your eyes in high-risk conditions.

Here’s what your eyewear needs to be safe on the construction site:

Impact Resistance

Most eyeglasses are impact-resistant, but only the lenses and they aren’t shatterproof. For this reason, your regular eyeglasses aren’t safe on the job. Impact-resistant safety eyewear that is ANSI Z87.1-2020 certified is essential for protecting your eyes. 

Your eyewear will be clearly marked with Z87 or Z87+ on the body of the glasses, letting you know your eyewear is certified and safe. The Z87 or Z87+ is basically the “X marks the spot” of safety specs.

Side and Top Shields

While some jobs may require goggles, most jobs need side and top shields.

These side and top shields offer protection against dust, spills, splatters, and flying debris that could bypass your eyeglass arms or enter through the top of your glasses. Nice try, dust, but it looks like your plans have been foiled yet again!

Light Protection

Both UV blocking and blue light blocking lenses are essential for construction work. Stoggles are crafted from lightweight polycarbonate material that is naturally UV blocking and crystal clear. All the UV protection without the need for tint or shade so you can see clearly while you work. 

Additionally, every pair of Stoggles comes standard with integrated blue-light blocking technology. Your eyes will be protected on the site, and if you have computer work to take care of after-hours. (Or if you’re scrolling through Facebook during your break — no judgment.)

Anti-Fog Lenses

It’s essential to make sure your construction safety glasses have anti-fog lenses. All Stoggles are treated with anti-fogging chemicals to ensure you never have to remove them to wipe them down. No matter the temperature or condition you’re in, Stoggles won’t leave you in a fog. 

Hard Hat (and Stoggles) Required

Construction safety glasses need to meet certain safety standards to keep your eyes safe on a construction job. Workers who don’t find their safety eyewear comfortable, however, probably won’t wear them. 

Stoggles is the solution. We combine the most important elements of safety with the lightweight durability of polycarbonate to make some of the safest and most comfortable protective eyewear available. We also know a thing or two about looking your best; you’ll never have to sacrifice your sense of style even when you’re on the job. 

You’ve got an important job to do every day, and you know there are risks involved. Do your part; wear your safety eyewear. Trust Stoggles to be the eyewear that protects you and keeps you comfortable in every scenario. 

It’s time to get in the (construction) zone with Stoggles.

 

Sources:

NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search - 20039443 - Eye injuries in construction: hazard alert | CDC.

Eye Safety In Construction | ISHN

Cell fusion 'awakens' regenerative potential of human retina: Hybrid cells could be a potential therapeutic strategy to treat retinal damage and visual impairment | ScienceDaily

ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2020 Standard | International Safety Equipment Association

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