You’re under a car or in a shop where parts are flying, and corrosive materials are swirling. The danger to your eyes, whether you realize it or not, is high.
Mechanics are used to getting their hands dirty, but are they used to keeping their eyes safe? We’ll cover the risks, explain what you need, and give you the schematics for the ultimate pair of mechanic safety glasses.
What Are the Risks of Working as a Mechanic?
It’s hard to imagine you’ll get an eye injury, especially if you’ve been rotating tires and changing oil for decades or installing rivets on the same panel parts for months. Even if your work occasionally feels repetitive and you feel incredibly confident, accidents happen.
Statistics on Autoshop Injuries
There are more than 800,000 eye injuries each day in the United States. Of those, about 2,000 happen on the job. The most likely industries to see these types of eye-related injuries? Construction, manufacturing, woodworking, healthcare, and of course, automotive repair.
Of these eye injuries, about one-third of them result in trips to the emergency room, and many of those cause the injured person to miss work and experience a financial loss due to missed pay and medical bills.
What About Vision Loss?
Vision loss is real. Your eyes contain cells inside the retina (retinal cells), which operate differently than other cells in your body. Retinal cells cannot regenerate, which means that when they are damaged, a portion of your vision is permanently and irreversibly lost.
Your eyes are also very fragile. Seated behind delicate orbital bones, your eyes are only protected by lashes, lids, and the gelatinous goo that covers the exterior of the orbs. Unlike your brain, which is housed inside your skull, your eyes are exposed. This makes it possible for you to see but easy for them to be injured.
The good news is that there’s no reason to sustain an eye injury or deplete your nest egg on medical care if you get one. Experts agree that 90% of all eye injuries are completely preventable simply by wearing protective safety glasses.
Most Common Threats for Mechanics
Mechanics of any kind are subject to eye-related injuries. You’ll find it difficult to work on basically anything when one eye is covered with a patch to protect it while it heals from a splatter of 5W-30.
Mechanics’ eyes are at risk of:
- Splashes and splatters from oil, grease, corrosive chemicals, shards, and other fluids
- Strikes and scrapes from tools, machines, car parts, and rowdy coworkers
- Dust from buffing, grinding, sawing, or rust particles
- Ultraviolet light
- Blue light from computers, fluorescent lights, tablets, and smartphones
- Burns from welding equipment or open flame
Because of these risks, it's important to make sure that the personal protective equipment you use has what it takes to keep your eyes safe while you work. If you’re not sure what you should be using, we’ve got you covered.
What Are The Best Safety Glasses for Mechanics
You keep our engines running smoothly, and the ideal pair of safety glasses will keep your eyes safe and operational. Just like automobiles, not all models are created equally.
Let’s look under the hood. Here’s what your safety glasses need to keep your eyes protected:
The reason why you shouldn’t wear your regular eyeglasses or sunglasses while you work is that they aren’t designed to keep your eyes safe against high velocity or weighted impact. That means if you’re in the bay under a real clunker and a rusty part falls on your face, your glass lenses could shatter and end up lodged in your eye.
The Cadillac of impact resistance standards is the ANSI Z87.1-2020 certification. The American National Standards Institute works with government agencies, like OSHA, to ensure that PPE is safe and regulated across different industries.
The ANSI impact standard for protective eyewear involves two tests that are literally make or break:
Mass Impact Test. This test involves placing a pair of safety glasses on a headform and dropping a weighted ball bearing on the lens from a specified height.
High Velocity Test. During this test, the headform wearing safety glasses receives a direct hit from a ball bearing being fired at at a high speed directly on the lens.
In order to pass both tests, the lenses cannot break, shatter, or fragment. You’ll know your eyewear is ANSI Z87.1-2020 certified because it will be marked on the arms or lens. After enough windshield repairs, you might come to appreciate the durability of your glasses just a bit more.
Side and Top Shields
Another reason why your regular sunglasses or prescription glasses don’t make the grade? They leave your eyes vulnerable in a few critical areas. The place above the top of the lens near your eyebrow, and the little area on either side near your temples are prime locations for dust, splashes, and debris to enter your eye area and cause an injury.
Top and side shields connect your lenses to the arms of your glasses above and below the arm to securely block intrusion in these areas. Kind of like an airbag that is constantly deployed.
If you need prescription safety glasses, side and top shields are the best option. Safety glasses that feature wraparound lenses warp the prescription and can cause your vision to look skewed. There’s really nothing like attempting engine work with glasses that make you feel like you’re trapped in another dimension.
Working in a garage gets steamy, no matter the season. Sweat, air temperature, and exhaust from engines and machines can create a thick, nasty fog on the exterior of your glasses making it impossible to see.
If your glasses are fogged, you’ll immediately remove them to wipe them down… only to have them fog again once you place them back on your face. This creates a major safety issue and a serious headache that could test your patience to the limits.
When you remove your glasses to wipe them down, you’re taken away from your task, which leaves room for a mistake, and probably a disgruntled customer. Additionally, you place your eyes at risk while they’re unprotected because, let’s be honest, you’re probably not going to leave your workspace and clock out to go wipe down your glasses.
Anti-fog lenses work by changing the way water vapor collects on the surface of your glasses. The water vapor still exists, but the surface tension is changed so that it’s invisible on the surface of your lenses. All Stoggles protective eyewear comes standard with this superpower, so you have one less thing to worry about when you’re in the shop.
If you’re indoors all day you might not think it’s necessary to have UV protective safety glasses, but you would be wrong. In addition to being out in the sun more times than you realize, and being exposed to more ultraviolet light if you work in a garage, some of the machines you use also expose you to this type of damaging light.
UV leak detectors can help you find the precise location of that oil leak that’s driving your customer crazy, but using it can also damage your eyes if they aren’t protected.
UV light causes your eyes to age faster than they would on their own. This light penetrates the eye deeply, reaching the retina. Remember those retinal cells? UV light targets them and can cause permanent damage.
The solution? UV protective lenses. Don’t worry; you don’t need tinted lenses for UV protection. At Stoggles, we use polycarbonate material to craft our ultra-lightweight, durable lenses, a material that is naturally UV blocking with zero chance of being pulled over for dark tint.
Blue Light Protection
Blue light is similar to ultraviolet light. It’s a high-energy, short wavelength of light that can penetrate the eye and reach the retina. Blue light is also emitted from the sun, and we love that kind. However, this type of light has a stereotypical evil twin: blue light from digital screens.
Blue light is emitted from many other sources, some of which are almost guaranteed to be found in a garage. Fluorescent lights, computers, work tablets, smartphones, and LED televisions are just a few of the ways you expose your eyes to blue light on a daily basis.
We don’t know what blue light can do to our eyes long-term. Short term, it can give you symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome like:
- Dry or watery eyes
- Eye strain and fatigue
- Blurred vision
Blue light blocking lenses are literally infused with a specialized (and barely noticeable) tint that filters out blue light and keeps your eyes safe. No matter if you’re in the garage or searching eBay for a specific part, your eyes are protected.
Safety glasses that aren’t comfortable spend a lot of time inside your toolbox, rendering them about as useless as a manual tire changer. Safety eyewear can only be protective if it is actually being worn and being worn correctly.
Stoggles eyewear is designed to be so supremely comfortable that you’ll probably forget you’re wearing it. Our lightweight polycarbonate frames and lenses don’t pull, squeeze, or slip and are comfortable on your face for hours.
Unlike glasses that feature wraparound lenses that can interfere with peripheral vision, our top and side shield design keeps your line of vision crystal clear, without warping or distortion.
Saying you don’t care about style is like saying you don’t want to customize the car you pick off a sales lot. You’re used to getting dirty, but that doesn’t mean your style can’t be so fresh and so clean.
Stoggles are available in numerous lens shapes and colors so that you can customize your protection by day of the week or match the current vehicle you’re working on.
What About Prescriptions?
If you wear prescription lenses, we can take care of that for you, too. We handle all prescriptions in-house, saving you time and money and making sure you get the same level of stylish safety your non-prescription-wearing colleagues get.
Tune Up Your PPE, With Stoggles
Your safety at work is important, even when you’re comfortable with your job. To make sure your eyes are always safe, trust the team at Stoggles to deliver the protective eyewear that meets every safety standard you need in a chassis that’s both comfortable and aesthetically appealing.
Stoggles keep your eyes safe while you make sure the world keeps running.
800,000 Eye Injuries Occur Annually, 90% are Preventable | EHS Today
Commonly Used Statistics | OSHA
Structure and Function of the Eyes - Eye Disorders | Merck Manuals Consumer Version