Safety glasses are spectacles or goggles worn to protect your eyes and are an item of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). These lenses are commonly made from clear anti-scratch polycarbonate, which offers the highest impact level tested under EN166. Some safety eyewear are manufactured from acetate and CR39 which provides general impact protection, but these are more suited to liquid and chemical splash safety protection. You can find out more about safety glasses and protective eyewear in our comprehensive safety glasses guide.
Prescription safety glasses are designed with prescription lenses to enable you to wear them in place of your own spectacles with goggles over them. Overspecs can be worn over prescription glasses with little interference for protection. Safety goggles feature lens and frame markings which are mandatory and essential to understand when selecting eye protection.
Components of Safety Glasses
- A manufacturer's mark (sometimes with a kite mark).
- A letter 'C' indicates whether they impair colour perception.
- Safety spectacles with a filtering effect are given specific codes. For example, a shade number between 1.2 and 6 can be used as protection when welding.
- Mechanical strength is indicated by a symbol of S, F, B, A or T, denoting how strong the glasses are. An 'S' have increased robustness.
- Glasses with K indicated on the lens offer resistance to surface damage from fine particles. A letter N are fog-resistant or anti-misting.
Types of eyewear protection for various environments and risk types
- Mechanical risk - Projection of debris and metal filings from tools, particle projections and grinding work. The F, B or A symbol must be indicated on the lens and the frame to guarantee protection. If the symbols differ, the symbol representing the lowest resistance is applied to the protection as a whole.
- Electrical Risk - Protection from live contact and short circuit electrical arcs. The 8 symbol must be indicated on the lens and the frame to guarantee protection from electrical risks.
- Thermal risk - Protection from radiating heat, intense heat, sprays of hot liquids or solids. The 9 symbol must be indicated on the lens and the frame to guarantee protection from thermal risks.
- Radiation risk - Protection from ultra violet (UV), infra-red rays, visible light sources, steelworks, surgery and welding. The standard is normally identified with a marking on the lens.
- Chemical risk - Protection from chemicals, dangerous liquids, aerosols, gas, toxic dust and other airborne contaminants. The standard marking of 3, 4 or 5 must be indicated on the glasses frame.