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Is it okay to wear personal eyeglasses instead of safety goggles?

Is it okay to wear personal eyeglasses instead of safety goggles? Attenutech Blog

Certain workplace environments will have certain standards that necessitate the use of safety glasses, and other personal protective equipment (PPE). In such environments, wearing safety glasses, or safety goggles may be necessary as part of the health and safety regulations. But not everybody can afford to wear them – especially when they already have personal eyeglasses that fix their vision.

So, is it okay to wear personal eyeglasses instead of safety goggles in such a workplace environment? The answer is of course no, but another solution is to make your safety goggles and your personal eyeglasses one and the same.

Eyeglasses in the Workplace

There are many jobs that pose a danger to the eyes – swapping out safety goggles for personal eyeglasses is rarely a good idea in such workplaces. Anything from carpentry to construction, to laboratory work or even sports (professional or otherwise) can put your eyes at risk, with the threat of projectiles and debris, splashing of dangerous chemicals, harmful dust, and even radiation from light sources.

Personal eyeglasses are simply not designed to protect your eyes from such risks and circumstances, thus necessitating safety specs. Such things ought to be covered by the health and safety training of any job where PPE equipment is required.

However, this does not mean that you need to compromise your vision for the safety of your eyes. If you wear personal eyeglasses, and require safety specs, then you or your employer can simply invest in prescription safety goggles

Prescription safety goggles, or prescription safety glasses, hold all the benefits of personal eyeglasses with the added benefit of protection for your eyes. In the case of safety eyewear for your workplace, these can be provided and paid for by your employer.

The chances that your employer would allow you to swap out safety goggles for personal eyeglasses are extremely low – as it is an employer’s job to ensure the health and safety of the employee whilst in the workplace. However, asking for prescription safety goggles is a valid option that can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Using personal eyeglasses as safety goggles is out of the question, especially in comparison to such a convenient and safer option.

If your employer does not provide you with a pair of prescription safety glasses, you may be offered a pair of fit over glasses.  These types of glasses are placed over your normal everyday glasses so that you are wearing two pairs.  This can help to reduce costs as the fit over pair will likely be cheaper than the prescription pair, however a fit over pair can cause problems of their own.  

Fit over glasses are often removed in between jobs and can be easily damaged, lost or simply not replaced before the next job takes place.  A fit over pair of glasses can eventually wear on the glasses underneath reducing the longevity of your own personal frames, something you might need to consider when talking to your employer.  A fit over pair of glasses is designed to be larger and therefore is often susceptible to ill-fitting and being harder to wear, which means they may be removed more often leading to further health and safety concerns.  

Eyeglasses and Personal Use

When considering hobbies, such as sports or otherwise, there isn’t always an obvious need for safety goggles. However, even in such events, it’s not typically appropriate to use eyeglasses in place of safety goggles in hopes that they’ll keep your eyes just as safe.

There are plenty of options in terms of sports eyewear specifically designed to keep your eyes safe, and for just about any personal hobbies or activities. Whether you’re doing home renovations or planning a skiing journey, there are options for prescription safety glasses, or even prescription lens inserts for your safety goggles.

However, for these types of prescription ‘upgrades’ to your safety eyewear, you’re going to need to pay and arrange everything by yourself as your employer is only in charge of handling health and safety at work, not in your personal life. It’s important for you to know and understand when you need safety glasses in your personal life, and when your personal eyewear just won’t do it.

The Vital Differences

Personal eyeglasses and safety goggles are not only purposed very differently, but they are also made very differently. The danger with personal eyeglasses in an environment with a threat of projectiles and debris is the possibility of shattering glass. When personal eyeglasses shatter, there’s an increased risk of damage to the eyes – and not only will they likely fail to protect you from workplace projectiles, but when it comes to gasses and fumes, safety goggles can offer a unique protection.

Safety glasses and goggles are tested against a large number of hazards before they’re approved for mass production, undergoing velocity tests, chemical tests, debris and dust tests, and they’re even tested to withstand fire. There’s no comparison between the safety offered by personal eyeglasses and safety lenses. 

Acquiring a prescription for your safety eyewear is easy, and with many types of frames, and lens types to choose from, you’ll only find yourself somewhat limited when looking for appropriate prescriptions for your goggles. Safety over-glasses or lens inserts are typically the more flexible option for your safety goggles.

Eye safety is no joke, and you need to be absolutely sure that in your work, personal or sporting environment, you’re doing the right thing to keep your eyes out of harm’s way. Though it’s unsafe to replace safety goggles with personal eyeglasses, you can always make your safety goggles more attuned to your personal needs an eyesight. However, remember – the absolute best way to ensure the safety of your eyes is to look towards the products that were specifically designed to keep them unharmed. Don’t further risk your vision for the sake convenience.


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