FACE protection products such as safety glasses, masks and visors have all been brought into much sharper focus during the Covid-19 pandemic. They’re all critical components in the personal protection equipment (PPE) framework that ensures wellbeing and safety at work.
In business and industrial environments, the use of face protection products should be second nature. But believe it or not, a recent report showed many men are now more concerned about facemasks of the cosmetic kind than personal safety and protection onsite.
A poll of 1,000 people found British males spend an average £760-a-year on ‘essentials’ to keep their skin in tip-top condition. That’s probably far more than a single person would spend on PPE in a year. What’s more it’s estimated the UK market for men’s facecare products is worth more than £77m a year!
But anti-wrinkle creams, facial washes, scrubs, and face masks will hardly provide proper protection of vital facial features when working in hazardous environments. Sadly, accidents happen all the time, sometimes in the most innocuous situations that we might ordinarily take for granted – such as strimming the garden, jet washing the patio, cutting wood, or drilling a wall.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, industrial and construction-related work has a much higher rate of facial injuries than any other with hazards many and varied. Impact injuries can be caused by flying objects such as stone or brick fragments, particles of dirt and dust, tiny pieces of metal and splinters caused by hammering, chipping, grinding, machining, wood working, sawing, and drilling.
Chemicals and extreme heat sources are also dangerous to the face. Splashes, fumes, vapours, and irritating mists can scald and burn while welding arcs, UV radiation and intense light can damage your eyes.
The consequences of facial injuries are serious, potentially life-threatening. Not just time off work and loss of pay as a result of short or long-term injuries, there’s the potential for something more significant. An injury can cause a lifetime of permanent disfigurement, even loss of sight. Surely that’s a good enough reason for using proper eye and face protection products all the time?
That said, some people will always find a reason not to. Cheap face protection products are ‘uncool’, they ‘fog up’ and are often unwearable because pressure, pinching and slipping points are a nightmare for users and the PPE ends up on top of workers’ heads or in their pockets instead of over their eyes.
What to look for in the best safety eyewear
Comfort, protection and fit is really important as are lightweight, durable materials to provide complete protection and flexibility of design for combination with other PPE including ear defenders, safety helmets, and visors.
Also, look out for specially developed lens technology for impact-resistance plus anti-scratch and anti-fog coatings on both sides as well as styles that can be worn over prescription glasses.
Around the lens, ergonomic designs should incorporate practical features, like a soft nose-bridge and ‘adjustable temples’, which ensure the glasses stay in place and fit safely allowing you to keep a sharp focus all day long.
What to look for in the best face protection visors
BS EN 166:2002 is the International Standard for eye and face protection covering personal protective eyewear in the form of visors and eye-shields and it’s important to look for this standard when you’re choosing what products to use.
Think carefully about hazards in the work environment and look for a product that’s designed for a comfortable, tight and ergonomic fit for maximum protection, especially so that no objects get around the edges of the visor. The visor should cover your face from at least the forehead to the base of the chin.
The best quality visors are available in different materials, thickness and size which correspond to specific hazard protection. You can even get visors that are treated with an anti-fog coating. Don’t assume a basic product that you might use for strimming or jet washing will provide maximum effective protection on a construction site.
Polycarbonate provides impact and heat resistance. It’s also used for arc flash, high heat, chemical splash and radiation protection while acetate also provides excellent resistance to chemical splash. For protection against radiation (IR and UV), look for visors that are made from special tinted and/or coated polycarbonate. While mesh visors are generally used to protect the face from flying debris and large dust particles.
• Hellberg Safety specialist PPE products are said to include highly advanced face protection products, noise hazard protection and communication solutions for personal safety and wellbeing onsite.
Says the company: ‘Hellberg’s interoperable face protection products offer helmet and visor solutions to suit a variety of internal and external work situations. With a standard product design across the range, users are able to mix and match visors, carriers, and hearing protectors for complete ‘headband-only’ or ‘safety helmet’ solutions that protect against the hazards faced in differing task environments.
‘Every single component in the Hellberg Safety PPE range combines the hallmarks of advanced technology, quality and comfort with superb, practical protection for the hazards you’re likely to face – whatever job you’re doing in high-risk work environments.’
• Reportedly renowned for its hi-spec PPE that includes advanced hearing protection products, face protection and communication solutions, Hellberg Safety is launching a new range safety eyewear.
Says the company: ‘With a wide range of street-smart styles, from basic to premium – the new range ensures a consistently clear line of sight and safe vision for professional tradesmen and women wherever they’re working onsite.
‘Built with lightweight, durable materials and specially developed lens technology, the eyewear provides complete protection, and comfort throughout the working day and can be easily combined with other PPE including ear defenders, safety helmets, and visors.
‘With a focus on enhanced safety in all conditions, Hellberg Safety Eyewear has impact-resistant lenses with anti-scratch and anti-fog coating on both sides and there are styles that can be worn over prescription glasses. Around the lens, the ergonomic design, incorporates practical features, like a soft nose-bridge and ‘adjustable temples’, ensuring the glasses stay in place and fit safely allowing you to keep your focus all day long.’
Concludes the company: ‘With Hellberg Safety Visor Protection prices starting at only £17* and good quality Eyewear at £9*, it’s a worthwhile investment in longer-lasting eye and face protection – and a lot more effective than anti-wrinkle cream.’
*RRP, plus VAT