Wearing safety glasses is vital in many work environments. But what if you’re also a spectacle wearer, can you wear safety glasses over your prescription glasses?
For many who rely on prescription spectacles, finding a solution can be a challenge. We’ll look at how those requiring prescription lenses can wear safety glasses, and what the law is around employers providing the right eyewear.
What Are Safety Glasses For?
Safety glasses are essential in many industries where the work environment poses a risk to eye health. Given the delicate nature of our eyes and the complexity of treating eye injuries, protective eyewear is critical.
There is a high risk of eye injuries in maky UK work environments. In extreme cases, a workplace eye injury could lead to blindness. As such, employers are required to provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including safety glasses, for tasks that present a risk to eye safety.
Safety glasses protect eyes from many health and safety risks including:-
- Harmful chemicals may come into contact with the face or hands and subsequently reach the eye area.
- Airborne particles, even simple specks of dust, can scratch the eye.
- Flying debris, such as fragments of metal, wood, or glass, can injure the eyes.
- Welding activities can cause flash burns to the eyes.
Every individual present in such environments, including employees and site visitors, should wear safety glasses for protection.
Can You Wear Safety Glasses Over Prescription Glasses?
Many workers who wear prescription glasses ask, “Is it possible to wear safety glasses over my prescription glasses?” The straightforward answer is yes. However, if you choose this approach, it’s crucial that the safety glasses are specifically designed to fit over prescription glasses.
Trying to wear two pairs of glasses may not be the best solution. This might become uncomfortable, especially when they need to be worn for extended periods.
The fit may not be ideal since regular safety glasses are not specifically designed to accommodate prescription glasses. Moreover, the quality of your vision is an important factor to consider when wearing two sets of lenses, as compromised vision can be just as dangerous as not wearing safety goggles at all.
Wearing safety glasses in a way they are not designed for can cause problems. In addition to comfort and vision quality, there could also be significant safety risks.
If the safety glasses fit poorly, they may become a source of distraction, which can be risky hazardous work environments. There’s also a chance they may fall off, increasing the risk of foreign objects causing injury to your eyes.
How to Wear Safety Glasses Over Glasses
If you’re considering wearing safety glasses over your prescription glasses, it’s important to keep some key points in mind. First, ensure that the safety glasses are specifically designed to be worn over regular glasses.
Over the Glasses (OTG) safety goggles are created with the intent to fit comfortably over existing eyewear. This design allows for comfortable wear during work hours. Opting for two pairs of glasses is feasible only when you select safety glasses designed with this specific purpose in mind. These are made to accommodate the size and shape of prescription glasses, the wearer’s face shape, and other unique features.
An alternative to wearing two sets of glasses is investing in a pair of prescription safety glasses. These glasses are tailored to your specific needs and designed to provide both protection and comfort.
Choosing the Right Safety Goggles to Wear Over Glasses
Choosing the right safety glasses to wear over your spectacles is crucial. Remember, everyone is unique, so it’s not a “one size fits all” situation when it comes to eye protection.
Just as you would with a pair of work shoes, it’s best to try on the Over-the-Glasses (OTG) safety glasses before deciding on a pair. They need to provide comfort throughout the day. If the glasses cause discomfort, like hurting your ears or irritating the bridge of your nose, you’re less likely to want to wear them.
Another important factor is to make sure your chosen glasses meet relevant British safety standards. With different styles and protection levels available to suit various workplace situations, understanding these standards is key.
While the letters and numbers can seem confusing at first, each denotes a specific safety feature. For instance, glasses marked with EN166 are designed to protect the eyes from low energy impact. This means you can match the hazards identified in a workplace risk assessment to your purchase.
Consider Prescription Safety Glasses
Prescription safety glasses can be the ideal solution for protecting your eyes at work. They not only help you see clearly, but they also comply with UK safety laws. You can purchase these glasses from a variety of stores, both physical and online.
It’s essential to ensure that the glasses you choose meet British standards. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) performs inspections and will identify any glasses that do not comply with safety regulations. This could pose significant problems for employers, as they bear the ultimate responsibility for workplace safety.
However, employees also have a role to play. It’s important for them to follow safety protocols, which includes taking good care of their glasses and promptly reporting any damage. Damaged safety glasses should either be repaired or discarded, with a replacement pair used in the interim. Regular eye tests can confirm that you have the correct prescription for your safety glasses.
Should Your Employer Pay for Prescription Safety Glasses?
Employers in various work environments should conduct a health and safety risk assessment. If this assessment identifies a need for protective eyewear, employers must ensure all staff have and use the appropriate glasses. This action keeps workplaces compliant with the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations of 1992.
As part of their legal responsibilities, employers must cover the cost of eye tests. They also have to pay for safety glasses that are worn over regular glasses, as normal prescription glasses do not meet the health and safety requirements.
However, there’s no legal obligation for employers to cover the cost of prescription safety glasses unless you require a prescription solely to perform your role. This is sometimes the case for VDU operators who require specialist VDU glasses.
If you prefer these, you might need to pay for them yourself. Nevertheless, your employer should provide you with the option to wear safety glasses over your regular glasses.
Do I Need Safety Glasses if I’m Already Wearing Spectacles?
If you’re already wearing prescription glasses, you might wonder if safety glasses are still necessary. The answer is, yes. Safety glasses are crucial for anyone working in environments that pose a risk to the eyes, including those who already wear spectacles.
The only exception to this rule is if your prescription glasses also meet the British safety standards for protective eyewear, the details of which are usually specified on the glasses themselves.
Regular prescription glasses are not built to withstand the same level of impact or exposure as safety glasses. Their design lacks the protective features necessary to guard against potential eye trauma, which could lead to serious injury.
Moreover, conventional spectacles do not provide the comprehensive coverage required by jobs that require safety goggles. Threats such as flying debris or chemical splashes can still reach your eyes, leaving them vulnerable to injury.