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Last updateTue, 24 May 2022 10am

Don’t turn a blind eye to safety prescription eyewear

Safety prescription eyewear plays a vital role in helping to reduce workplace injuries to the wearer and those around them. Clair Weston, Marketing Manager at uvex is urging those with lapsed eye tests to make this a priority. 

Workplace eye injuries can result from a wide range of sources, from swinging chains to sand and dirt to hazardous chemicals. Prescription and non-prescription safety eyewear can help to mitigate these risks. 

Since the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have been unable to secure new or replacement safety prescription eyewear due to lockdowns and social distancing. With restrictions now removed, overdue eye checks should be rebooked as soon as possible to ensure employees are wearing appropriate PPE at work. 

Eye-opening facts 

Roughly 80 per cent of our sensory impressions are registered through the eyes, ultimately translating into action and response. But the eyes need protection to prevent against injury and the ageing process. 

Up to 25 per cent of the working population requires prescription eyewear and, in many cases, safety prescription eyewear. Mechanics, woodworkers, masons, plumbers, assemblers, sanders, grinding machine operators, welders and labourers are among those most vulnerable to eye injuries due to the hazards they encounter.  

Wearing glasses with an out-of-date prescription can have a negative impact on eyesight and, in an industrial workplace where visual accuracy is essential, could result in an increased risk of injury to individuals or those around them. 

Our eyes can also reveal early indicators for diseases such as glaucoma, diabetes and cataracts, which, if detected and treated early enough, can reduce the risk and scope of impaired vision. For all of these reasons, regular sight tests are essential. 

During the pandemic, many people missed their regular prescription safety eyewear check-up due to opticians being temporarily closed or a reluctance to visit due to the proximity in which tests take place. This, of course, poses a problem to employers that take seriously their responsibility to provide appropriate PPE. 

With the vaccination programme in full swing and opticians open once more, it is crucial for workers to ensure they have appropriate prescription safety eyewear.  

Selecting safety eyewear 

Once your eyes have been tested, a risk assessment is the key determinant in defining appropriate PPE. Where there is risk of impact, it is vital that safety prescription eyewear comprises lenses made of polycarbonate. All too often, through error or lack of awareness, employees are provided with “safety prescription” eyewear comprising lenses made from CR39 plastic. This is the norm for non-safety corrective eyewear but does not fulfil the requirements for impact protection within the EN 166 norm. This exposes the wearer to risk and the employer to the possibility of litigation and reputational damage. 

Undertaking a risk assessment will help identify the requirement for goggles and/or full-face visors certified to EN166, for environments where objects moving up to 120 meters per second. These should be regarded as mandatory for those using high-power tools such as nail guns or angle grinders.  

What uvex can offer 

The uvex prescription eyewear service can be used to fulfil the pent-up demand for customised safety prescription eyewear solutions in a timely and effective manner. A provider of safety prescription eyewear, delivered from its UK manufacturing source, uvex supports and facilitates the interface between the employer/wearer, the optician, and the essential PPE. 

Its user-friendly, web-based system helps with the selection and ordering of safety and non-safety prescription eyewear for employees. The automated system can be set up for organisations of all sizes, and it can be programmed to only display pre-agreed frame and lens options based on workplace hazards. 

Once the employee has visited the optician, spectacles are manufactured by uvex, keeping costs and lead-times down. Unlike voucher systems, the uvex system invoices on an order-by-order basis through the existing PPE provider, meaning there is no need to set up a new account. 

uvex offers a choice of metal, plastic and wraparound frame styles for safety or office use. A straightforward three-tier pricing structure for single vision, bifocal and varifocal lenses – as well as competitively priced extras such as anti-reflective and anti-fog coatings, transition lenses, or sun glare tints – means there are no hidden costs. The uvex system also provides historical data to help managers and their employees keep track of eye health. 

Eyes are one of the most important – but also most vulnerable – parts of the body. uvex can help you ensure that inappropriate eyewear does not create any unnecessary risks within your business.

For further information visit www.uvex-safety.co.uk