PPE FAQ: eye and face protection

PPE - September 24, 2013 - 0 comments

Eye and face protection guidance from the JSP Knowledge Base:

My Health and Safety Officer has said that I need to use Grade B eye protection, but I can’t find any safety spectacles that are to that requirement?

Grade B is tested by firing steel balls at the eye protector at 270mph (430kph). The European Standard does not allow for spectacles to be tested at this speed. This is because the spectacle just sits on the wearer’s nose all the impact energy has to be absorbed there and the wearer would receive excessive injuries.

For Grade B protection you will need goggles or a faceshield. Generally speaking, if you are using hand tools spectacles will be needed and goggles and faceshields if you are using power tools. If you are not sure, give the JSP Technical Helpline, 01993 826051, a call.

What goggle do I need for chemicals?

The selection of eyewear will depend on the chemical and how it is being used. Both Acetate and Polycarbonate will stop the liquid but both will be affected. To determine which is most suitable, give the JSP Technical Helpline, 01993 826051, a call.

If you are spraying the chemical then you will need a goggle that has liquid droplet protection. If you are working with the chemical in a liquid form, brushing or pouring, and the risk is from splash then a faceshield or goggle would be okay. In both cases one should consider what happens to the wearers face if the liquid gets on it. In addition to the goggles it would be a good idea to protect the face with a faceshield as well as using the goggles.

What do all the numbers and letters mean that are printed on the spectacles?

There are lots of markings that are required by the standards for eye protection, the common ones are shown below:-

Example marking on a spectacle lens:





Example marking on a goggle body:



What does the 1 in EN166.1.B stand for?

Class 1 optical properties. This should mean that the wearer can wear the eye protector for an unlimited amount of time without any eye strain. An eye protector with optical properties of 3should not be worn for an extended period of time.

I have got a lot of work to do outside, why can’t I just wear my normal sunglasses?

Normal sunglasses have only been developed to offer filtering protection and will not give you any protection from impact and may not have good optical properties. Spectacles that have a filtering performance of 5-2.5 for instance have been assessed against the European Standard for Industrial Sunglare filters, EN172, as well as EN166, the Industrial Eye Protection Standard which requires the optical properties to be assessed.

My goggles are always misting up, what can I do?

As a goggle is enclosing the part of the face, when you are working, moisture will build up inside the goggle. This will result in fogging of the lens, unless you have anti-mist treated lenses. Even with these you will get some build up of moisture on the lens eventually. If wiping the lens dry you will eventually wipe the coating off, so drying must be done with care.

I am cutting some stone which seems to be making some very fine dust, what type of eye protector protects against fine dust?

A goggle that has the marking “5” on the frame. Usually this will be an unvented body with an anti-mist/fog lens fitted. As well as the eye protection you will need to think about some respiratory protection.

What impact speed will goggles withstand?

The maximum that the standard allows for goggles to withstand is a 270mph (430kph) impact from a 6mm steel ball. The amount of impact energy that the ball hits with has been determined as being a representative real incident. The shock from this impact has to be absorbed by the goggle body and the face.

Which lens are scratch resistant?

The majority of JSP spectacles have a polymeric hard coating. These will help protect the lens, but care of the spectacle is very important. If a dry cloth is used to wipe dirt off the lens it will scratch much quicker than if the dirt is washed off and a damp cloth is used and the spectacle allowed to air dry.

I have to carry out some work on an old electrical installation, will my normal spectacles be okay?

If power is running to the installation and it is being worked on live, there is a danger of arcing. In this case you spectacles will not be good enough, you will need a special visor that must be at least 1.4mm thick and the eye protector should carry “8” in its markings.

I have to wear prescription spectacles, which goggles should I be using?

Any goggle that allows the wearers prescription spectacles to fit under it, however the larger the goggle the better, as this reduces the possibility of the lens touching the prescription eye wear enclosed by the goggle.

It should be noted that not only the impact protection is reduced but also the liquid splash and gas/dust protection properties of the goggle as the spectacle arms will hold the faceseal away from the wearer’s face. In addition the optical properties of the goggle and those of your spectacles may affect your vision. If you notice eye strain or headaches you should only wear the combination for short periods.

I have been wearing dust goggles but I am getting dust inside?

The goggle, like all PPE, can only provide full protection if well fitted to the wearers face. The headband should be adjusted to make sure that the faceseal is touching all the way around.

Which lenses are UV protective?

All lenses will provide some level of protection against ultraviolet light as they are a physical barrier, smoked lens will provide more because they allow less light through in the first instance. To get the best levels of protection, lenses that have been manufactured using a special additive that filters UV light in the 400nm range should be used. These are commonly referred to as UV400 lenses.

We have to prepare an old brick wall with some brick cleaning acid, what should we be using?

Every brand has a slightly different chemical make up and it is important to know what that is to make the best selection. However for most of these that we have come across you would need a polycarbonate visor on a faceshield. This will protect the face as well as the eyes, and it would be best if liquid droplet goggles, marked 3, were worn under the visor.

Can I wear Safety Spectacles when using a staple gun (speed 100m/s) the leaflet with it says wear eye protection?

No. Eye protection for this situation must be Medium Energy – EN166B. Goggles to this standard will give the correct protection for the eyes but consider using a faceshield of this grade as it will give protection to the whole face area if fitted with an optional chinguard.

I am doing some metal arc welding (MIG) on heavy metals (steel and steel alloys), what shade of lens should I fit to the welding faceshield?

The choice of lens shade will be in the range 10 to 14 dependent on the current being used.

10 for 80-100 amps

11 for 100-175 amps

12 for 175-300 amps

13 for 300-500 amps

14 for over 500 amps


PPE FAQ: Eye and face protection

Information kindly provided with permission from JSP Knowledge Base – JSP

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