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Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, who has also contributed to numerous national business titles including Utility Week, the Municipal Journal, Environment Journal and consumer titles such as Classic Rock.
January 28, 2019

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safety eyewear

Buying safety eyewear: Arco calls for clarity

When buying safety eyewear, companies have been urged to make sure workers get the correct equipment.

industrial glassesAccording to the safety firm Arco, there has been an increase in non-specialist retailers selling prescription safety eyewear, but without the advice from qualified experts, bosses could be potentially putting their workforce in danger.

Instead, Arco claims both workers and bosses need to be aware of the level of protection they require by completing comprehensive risk assessments.

According to RIDDOR, a loss or reduction of sight accounted for 126 of all non-fatal injuries to employees while at work in 2017/18

In order to ensure employers are fully protecting their workforce, Arco says they should make themselves aware of the protection ratings under BS EN 166:2001:

  • S Offering the least amount of protection and no impact protection;
  • F Offering the lowest level of impact protection;
  • B Offers a mid-range impact protection ;
  • A Offering the highest-level protection against speed projectiles.

PPE: Complete guide to Personal Protective Equipment

“The lack of understanding of the PPE regulations and standards requirements can put workers at risk of serious, life altering accidents. It is essential that those purchasing or wearing safety glasses are getting the correct protection that they need for the hazards that they are exposed to,” said Arco’s Director of QSHE UK & Asia, Neil Hewitt.

Mr Hewitt also advises that some glasses on the market don’t meet all the requirements for different applications required by EN 166:2001 for high speed impacts.

Workers who require both high impact protection above the absolute minimum level of protection and prefer prescription safety glasses will need to also be provided with over goggles and face screens.

“Spectacle type eyewear can only be certified to EN166, level F, which is the lowest impact requirement and not suitable for those using high speed power tools or machining equipment. It’s concerning that some retailers often don’t relay this message to customers, meaning workers think they are fully protected when in fact they could be far from it,” added Mr Hewitt.

‘New PPE Regulations see the most significant change in 20 years’, says Arco’s Neil Hewitt

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