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Who pays for prescription safety glasses UK?

Who pays for prescription safety glasses UK? Safety Protection Glasses Blog

There are plenty of lines of work that could be considered ‘risky’, and eye safety is important in just about all of them. Most jobs already account for this, providing the appropriate eye safety whenever it’s necessary. But there are certain things to consider…

In particular, what about the cases when your eyes need something a little more expensive and specialised in order to bring you up to the same standard of safety as everybody else in the workplace? Who pays for prescription safety glasses in the workplace – you, or the employer, or perhaps somebody else?

As with most workplace-related questions regarding Health and Safety, there are certain legal matters to consider that can help you paint a clearer picture of an answer. 

PPE is regarded equipment that will protect the user against health or safety risks when at work, with safety glasses included in this category. Given this, the safety glasses would come under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992. 

What this means is that – if there is enough risk to warrant the use of safety glasses in a workplace, it is the employer’s job to make sure that the safety equipment is suitable for the individual wearing it. The purchasing of prescription safety glasses is included in this duty, making it their legal responsibility in the UK.

This is accurate whether you require prescription safety goggles, glasses, or anything of the like – as long as it qualifies as PPE safety equipment, it qualifies under the legal requirements.

The Workplace

Eye protection is used in plenty of fields of work, and meant to protect from many things that could lead to either sight loss or potentially dangerous eye damage. They’re tested vigorously to resist projectiles, fire, splashes from harmful chemicals, and much more.

There are many different types of safety glasses too, to compensate for various environments, from safety lab goggles, to sporting or industrial safety glasses (where frames will widely vary) to even general safety specs for more comfortable home purposes.

With the many threats of workplace dust, debris, splashes and gasses that could prove potentially harmful to the eyes, it’s also important for employers to know and understand what types of safety specs need to be purchased for use in the workplace. The same types should absolutely be applied when making the purchase of prescription safety glasses.

Related Rules

Though the costs of prescription safety glasses are extremely varied, it should be noted that there’s no price standard stated in any law or obligation. As long as the product is functional and guaranteed to keep the employee’s eyes safe, then the employer has done their job.

Prices on prescription safety glasses can be as low as £30 or as high as £600. It will all depend on the type of make of the glasses – if you want a fancier or even sturdier pair, then you may have to set out to buy them yourself as the employee. It’s the employer’s job to ensure your safety in the workplace, not spend more money than is reasonable on PPE eyewear.

What Can you Expect?

When requesting prescription safety glasses from an employer in a workspace that demands the use of safety eyewear, you can’t expect the obligations to end there – though it will be the employer’s job to pay for the equipment, it will also be the employee’s job to take a prescription form from the manufacturer of the safety glasses and bring it to the local optician.

From there, the optician will fill out the form (with a potential eye test for the employee, if they haven’t recently had one) followed by the optician either returning the form to the employer so it can be sent off, or they’ll send it off to the manufacturer themselves. 

From there on, after the order is filled and completed by the manufacturer, the new prescription safety glasses will typically be delivered to the opticians where they can be picked up by the employee for use and potential fitting checks.

Safety is important – it should never be underestimated, especially in certain fields of work. Whether you need them for protection against radiation, dust, debris or simply because you work around irritant chemicals, you can be sure that your employer will always be available to look into your Health and Safety needs. 

When it comes to prescription safety glasses or safety inserts for sporting activities, hobby activities or any home work, however, then you can expect to pay for your own safety. Nobody’s about to pay for your recreational pleasures unless you convince them yourselves! In the meantime, you can rest easy knowing that your work life is always going to be assured to be one that’s protected against hazards and dangers.


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