Monday, April 11, 2011

Laser Eye Safety Q & A

If an employee wears prescription glasses what options do they have in laser eye safety equipment?

Prescription eye glasses do not provide protection from laser emissions and cannot substitute for laser eye safety glasses or goggles. However, some employees cannot work without both their prescription glasses as well as the laser safety glasses. Wearing dual glasses can be uncomfortable if you don't have the right options to choose from. Larger framed laser safety glasses or laser goggles that are specifically designed to fit over prescription glasses are readily available. These styles are comfortable, lightweight and designed to not push against or ride over the prescription frames, making them comfortable to wear even for long periods of time.

Another option is to consider prescription types of radiation glasses that ensure that the worker only has one pair of glasses on at any given time. These glasses are not costly and can really make the work environment much more comfortable.

How do most research, industrial or medical facilities identify areas where laser eye safety equipment is required?

Stickers, hazard signs, and clear labeling of any areas where radiation or laser systems are in use is required by OSHA and ANSI regulations. In these areas,. it is important to wear laser eye safety glasses or goggles and this rule should be enforced for everyone entering that part of the facility. If it is policy for all employees, managers, visitors and personnel to have on the appropriate laser eye safety glasses whenever entering in these areas it is much less likely that someone will forget or choose to simply ignore the rules and posted policy. Reviewing the signs and warning symbols with new employees and visitors is also a critically important part of helping everyone understand laser eye safety policies.

Why do laser eye safety glasses and goggles have different colored lenses?

The various lens colors on laser eye safety glasses and goggles are designed for use with different types of laser systems. The colors of the lenses are related to the waveband being produced by the laser. Wearing the incorrect type of laser eye safety device can result in little or no protection for the eyes, so it is imperative to understand what laser system is being used and select an appropriate lens type.
Employees complain about safety eyewear being uncomfortable, what can I do?

One of the most common complaints is about the comfort level of laser eye safety devices, which may lead to employees removing the safety equipment. A good way to avoid this problem is to allow employees to try on several different styles of glasses or goggles and choose the one that is most comfortable to them. With higher levels of comfort with the glasses or goggles employees are far less likely to remove them or to attempt to avoid wearing them at all. Since most styles are designed to fit adult sizes, having a few different frame options in the workplace is a low cost way to avoid this issue.

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