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July 2, 2012

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Concern over workers’ eyecare knowledge-gap

New research has found that nearly 60 per cent of safety practitioners were not able to correctly identify who can specify safety eyewear requirements for employees.

The study, commissioned by Specsavers Corporate Eyewear and conducted by Emedia, involved companies ranging in size from SMEs to those with more than 10,000 employees.

The results showed that only 42 per cent of safety professionals who took part were able to identify that only a qualified health and safety manager can specify safety eyewear requirements for workers.

Only 14 per cent of respondents knew the correct level of impact for which everyday spectacles are sufficient. Just over half believed that workers at their company remove safety eyewear due to a lack of comfort or fit.

It was also revealed that more than a third of employees who wear spectacles in their day-to-day life are not provided with prescription safety glasses and, instead, are expected to use over-goggles. According to Specsavers, these are not suitable for long-term use owing to the discomfort of wearing two sets of glasses and the light refraction caused by two sets of lenses.

The company’s director of strategic alliances, Jim Lythgow, said: “Most health and safety managers at least know what they don’t know about safety eyewear and, as professionals, will seek advice and further information.

“It’s clear from our research, however, that further education is required and that this would both reduce the risk to employees’ eyesight and may also be financially beneficial for the employer. The number of people regularly removing safety eyewear suggests that employee education policies may also need to be strengthened.”

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