Safety Eyewear and Hot Weather

When the temperatures begin to rise, safety professionals need to start preparing plans to protect its outdoor workers from heat stress. The most common risks associated with high temperatures tend to be heat rash and cramps, to heat exhaustion and stroke.

However, OSHA and CDC experts say exposure to heat can also increase the risk of injuries because of fogged-up safety glasses. Two specific injury risks come to mind when it comes to safety glasses. First, when safety eye wear fogs up on a hot afternoon, workers may take them off, exposing themselves to hazards. A study in the scientific journal, Accident Analysis and Prevention, found that fogging is the number one vision-related barrier to wearing safety eye wear. The second risk of fogged eye wear is impaired vision. This can leave the outdoor worker open to injury while handling everyday tasks.

A recent survey among safety professionals found 28 percent of them believed fogged eye wear had contributed to injuries in their own workplaces. Lost productivity is also a consideration when employees struggle with fogging. A person who removes, wipe and re-dons safety eye wear multiple times during a shift can’t be working up to potential.

Remember, the tighter the eye wear fits, the higher the risk of fogging. Movement of air around the face and safety eye wear can lower the temperature and evaporate humidity. However, some of today’s wraparound eye wear designs hug the face and reduce air flow. Goggles can present an even greater concern because their snug fit, a key to safety, may reduce ventilation.

To learn more about protective eye wear, please check out OSHAcademy’s course 709 Personal Protective Equipment.