HSI No. 39's Protective Eyewear FORUM
Published: 10th Jul 2008
Welcome to the July issue's manufacturer forum, this time on Protective Eyewear. We are confident that you will be able to glean much important and interesting information from the following answers to help you in your quest for a safer working environment.
1. What is the most important development or innovation you have seen in eye protection over the last 12 months?
The styles and designs are more fashionable and have all kinds of new coatings and sunlight protection to wear them outdoors as well. Also the introduction of “hybrid” eyewear which have the comfort of a spec but the protection of a goggle.
We believe that fashion with regards to Protective Eyewear is increasingly important to the wearer. The other development would be comfort.
For the last 12 months, we can highlight a strong increase of requirements on safety eyewear spectacles fitted with prescription lenses. It is a real improvement in the level of protection and of comfort.
I believe that the quality and design of Protective Eyewear has dramatically moved forward in the last ten years due to the fact that peoples’ perception of eyewear means that the product has to be of a higher quality and more fashionable.
The Forceflex Spectacle – Provides revolutionary performance and comfort.
Forceflex is a new unique safety spectacle, offering unprecedented impact protection, a bespoke user fit and outstanding durability through use of patented new technologies, materials and design. It’s a unique cost effective safety spectacle available to a global market.
Most important innovations have been done on styles: more attractive frame and lens designs, but also lens shades that are fashionable and functional at the same time. A good example is the MSA’s blue purple lens, that enhances contrast in outdoor applications and has become very popular over the last months.
Rx-Insert for a standard wrap around style safety eyewear that avoids prism and other power distortion.
Swiss One Safety
I feel the trend of the last months and I can say the last 3 years is the focus on comfort and fit to make sure that products are suitable for any kind of applications and that people want to use them.
Point of view market – we have a lot of distributors offering a range of quite equal eyewear for an according same field of applications. The only difference they have is the name of the brand. The companies specialised in a certain field distribute now everything. The know-how is still based on their speciality and not on the rest they distribute. This is a big chance for the little flexible and independent manufacturers in Europe.
Point of view products – the comfort and design level of the specific safety eyewear products gets better and better and more fashionable then ever! Still, we are talking about safety eyewear – therefore the products need to be appropriate to offer the user the needed protection. In the more specialised protective eyewear we have a lot of fields where we can see a lot impressive developments. The innovations here are more invisible, but finally very effective for the user. These developments include coatings and treatments of the different lenses (as in x-ray eyewear)!
The most particular innovation that I have seen in last year in specs is a frame completely flexible made in a special material that you can bend, turn and pull without compromise functionality.
The use of new materials and manufacturing technology to make products lighter and more user friendly. The use of new manufacturing methods to further enhance the optical quality of the lens, making them thinner, and improved lens coatings to protect the lens and increase ‘non-fogging’ time.
2. How do you see eye protection products and practice developing and improving in the near future?
New coating technologies will take care of misting specs or goggles in every severe circumstances! This without having any effects on the scratch resistance.
Good quality eye protection products is very important for the wearer and can be integrated into a Protective Helmet.
The demand for safety prescription eyewear product should continue to grow.
This is really in answer to the question of the combination between protection, efficiency and comfort.
Development more unique and special designs on spectacles.
More eye protection will be produced in the same way as the Forceflex. One of the most consumable products on today’s construction sites is a spectacle.
Comfort features like soft nose pads and temple ends, adjustable lens inclination and temple length, as well as functional coatings have shown an increasing demand and will become even more important in the future. MSA is currently developing new comfort and safety features on spectacles and goggles.
The only development is that Safety Eyewear becomes more and more closer to the stylish “Street-Wear” eyewear of sunglasses.
Swiss One Safety
More comfortable to wear than protective approach. New technologies for the improvement of expectations of users: in eyewear we mean lightweight, fit to face, ergonomically, compatibility with other PPE, minimised size for optimal protection.
I am sure that we will have an increasing quantity of people using prescription eyewear! Due to the European law and standards a lot of (new European) countries will force their companies to use safety gear! People will even more be made aware of the fact that they need to protect themselves with adequate stuff! They will be made aware that it is worth it to be protected comfortably. I think the quantity of high-quality safety eyewear will increase again – because as a professional you do not buy low-quality tools with which you are not able to work properly. You need good stuff to be productive. It is the same with safety eyewear – you cannot buy a spec that gives you a headache after 30 minutes!
They will be always more close to the sport and fashion eyewear in design and style , with special lenses as polarized and photocromatic, but without losing the main property , that is the protection.
Products will continue to follow the fashion styles with manufacturers providing wearers with products and styles they want to wear. Employers need to work more closely with manufacturers to help provide the products and the education needed.
Eye protection areas being based more on formal risk assessments rather than blanket mandatory policies. Mandatory eye protection areas will increase in all industry sectors.
3. What is the most common problem you see end users and/or specifiers struggling with when it comes to protective eyewear?
End-users have a lot of problems actually wearing safety eyewear during the whole working day. They claim their vision is reduced caused by misting of the lenses or due to other kinds of influences like scratching.
Although there are many very high quality products on the market, one of the main problems with protective Eyewear is that the worker will often take very little care of the eye protection product resulting in the wearer taking more time to complete a specific task due to the fact that the product will be severely scratched.
Safety eyewear products really need to be well accepted by the workers in order to be worn. So this product family must include an effective aspect which is sometimes difficult to estimate because also really subjective.
Spectacles’ design. Because some spectacles don’t fit Europeans’ face shape.
It is often a problem to combine the use of corrective prescription eyewear with protective eyewear. It can also be difficult to combine the use of prescription eyewear with other PPE products – e.g. respiratory masks and ear defenders.
It is important to be aware of the risks of mechanical, chemical and radiation hazards, although these might be invisible. MSA can provide training and help in specifying adequate safety eyewear, but key is that the end user consequently makes use of the eye protectors. Selecting ergonomic eyewear with a modern design which suits the individual preferences improves wearer’s acceptability and compliance.
Most of larger end users want to have a standard and universal safety eyewear. In other words; one type of spectacle. This is in most cases not possible due to older workers who need prescription spectacles.
Swiss One Safety
How to identify which product is the best, quality difference identification, “necessity to wear identification” , we can see that lots of workers are not yet aware of direct or indirect risk for their eyes. Safety eyewear is not yet a priority in PPE. Markings complexity.
All the global-players do offer eyewear – for one application 20 different models! But which model is the right one for the application? Do I need prescription eyewear or is it not worth it? The end user needs consulting and help to find the right product. The big ones are not able to help a single guy – they need to generate quantity. At the end, the user buys an incorrect product, which is not correct for his application.
The field of safety eyewear consists of a huge variety of different difficulties nowadays – means the user needs consulting with!
The common problem in specs for end-user is to use uncomfortable items due to bad design and quality of the frame and lenses.
Buyers, and occasionally specifiers, of eye protection very often don’t have to wear it and not involving the wearers causes big problems with wearer acceptance. Buying the cheapest products available can often be false economy unless the wearers wear them! Lack of education and information for the wearers explaining how and what to look for when selecting the products.
4. What is the most important thing for your customers to consider when researching and specifying this kind of PPE?
Let the employees choose themselves which kind of Eyewear they like best. This feels more personal and the acceptance will be sure to develop.
There is not a spec which fits all!
In a lot of cases price is always an issue for any specifier, certification for example the CE and ANSI is a must have and also durability style and comfort.
Here, the most important thing will be the definition of the risk taken by the worker of course, and to determine the design that would be best accepted. The second most important thing will be the warranty of an excellent optical quality and the official certification against the risk defined.
The eyewear manufacturer must answer to that request.
Quality and modern design.
It is very important to consider: Performance Comfort Price Style.
High quality, comfort, suitable design and the feeling of being well protected are the most important criteria. However these are perceived differently by each individual. Therefore a proper selection requires that end users test a variety of spectacles in the work place.
In addition the user should consider that the eyewear optimally fits together with other protective equipment he may use, e.g. helmets, respiratory masks and ear muffs. Companies with a complete range of state-of-the-art protective equipment, e.g. MSA, ensure perfect compatibility.
Workers older then 40 years of age will have in 90% of the case a (readers) prescription spectacle. Therefore to know the average age of the workers will help to select the correct protection.
Swiss One Safety
Lightweight, comfort, design, or, on the other hand only price.
He needs to know the application the product will be used for. It is important to have the adequate protection, not just some protection! Get consulting if necessary!
Good products = Good acceptance of the users! It is worth it to spend 2 cents more as long the safety gear is used!
Conclusion: The best personal protective equipment is the sort that people actually wear!
The most important things are:
– style with a modern design – comfort with a frame made in soft material to avoid the pressure on critical points like nose and behind the ears , good fitting for any kind of head and face , high optical lenses – protection
One product will not suit everybody and therefore a choice of styles is needed. Different working conditions and tasks might require different products and options. Provide information, explaining what the products do and how they protect as well as how to look after them.
The best eye protection is the one that gets worn!
It’s amazing to see the common themes from such a diverse range of PPE manufacturers. They ALL stress the need for careful consultation, or consideration at least. To increase the acceptance levels so that workers are more often protected to the correct levels, and the fact that design, comfort, style and protection levels are mentioned by nearly all of them as the watchwords to consider.
Don’t read all this and let it go to waste when you next specify product! Take them up on their offer and contact them, either through their adverts in this issue or by searching for them on the internet. Don’t forget to tell them where you read about them!!
For more information on Protective Eyewear visit http://www.osedirectory.com/product.php?type=health&product_id=6
Published: 10th Jul 2008 in Health and Safety International