While we've all been focusing on face coverings, don't forget that basic personal protective equipment in the lab includes eye protection. Here are some tips from Environmental Health and Safety.
While we've all been focusing on face coverings this past year, don't forget that basic personal protective equipment in the lab includes eye protection. Here are some tips for knowing when and how to wear eye protection, as well as what kind you need:
- Eye protection is required for all work with materials that may cause eye injury. This could be work with small particulates that can get into your eye, some vapors, or any liquid hazardous chemicals (corrosives in particular). You should always protect your eyes if there is any chance of splashes or spills. Activities that have a reasonable probability of eye injury include:
- preparing solutions
- Eye protection may include use of engineering controls (such as fume hoods or biosafety cabinets) as long as the sash is positioned in a way to shield your eyes from the materials inside, as well as laboratory safety glasses or goggles. Which one you choose depends on what you're working with, as well as the specifics of your activity.
- Goggles that form a protective seal around the eyes prevent objects or liquids from entering from all sides.
- Lab safety glasses should have side shields; they provide less protection than goggles but are frequently more comfortable.
- Face shields protect the entire face, including the eyes, but are not a substitute for eye protection. They should be worn over safety glasses or goggles if full face protection is required.
- Eye protection should fit properly and be comfortable, as well as provide adequate protection from the hazard in use.
- Prescription glasses (corrective lenses) are not a substitute for eye protection. If you need to wear prescription glasses, your choice of eye protection must fit over your glasses, or you can purchase prescription laboratory safety glasses.
Even with proper use of eye protection, accidents happen. Always know the location of your eyewash stations and make sure they are tested weekly.
If you have any questions about which type of eye protection you need, contact Environmental Health and Safety (EHS): firstname.lastname@example.org.