*Safety Glasses*
By: Winchester

There are plenty of activities that we Rubiconers participate in that should find us wearing safety eyewear. Rappelling, shooting, operating chainsaws, operating handsaws, using axes, welding on trailers, the list goes on and on.

Using OSHA statistics an estimated 1,000 eye injuries occur every day in the workplace. Seeing as how "we don't play" here in the Rubicon, I consider these numbers relevant. The two causes of eye injuries are, not wearing any eye protection and not wearing appropriate eye protection. Almost 40% of these injuries were due to the wrong type of eye protection, such as lack of side shields.

Seventy percent of eye injuries occur from falling or flying particles including sparks that hit the eye. These objects are usually traveling faster then a hand thrown object and are often smaller than the head of a pin. One fifth of the injuries were the result of chemical contact, objects swinging from a fixed or attached position, like tree limbs, ropes, chains, or tools which were pulled into the eye while the worker was using them also account for quite a few injuries. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that more than 40% of eye injuries occurred among workers such as mechanics, carpenters, and plumbers. More than a third of the injured workers operated sanders, and grinding machines.

Preventing Eye Injuries

The simplest way to prevent eye injuries is to always wear effective eye protection. To qualify as safety eyewear in the eyes (no pun intended) of OSHA your glasses must meet the ANSI standard Z87.1. ANSI is the American National Standards Institute and Z87.1 is a rigorous standard that more than provides for the protection of your eyes. This standard covers such points as impact in regards to both speed and size of particles and protection from the sides with shields or wrap around lenses.

Your eyewear must be of the appropriate type for the hazard encountered and properly fitted to supply the protection you need. Take note that the BLS survey showed that 94% of injuries to workers wearing eye protection resulted from objects or chemicals going around or under the protector. Eye protective devices should allow for air to circulate between the eye and the lens. The best form of protection, especially if you are dealing with liquids, is to wear safety rated goggles, even better is to wear goggles AND a full face shield. Naturally you will not want a face shield when shooting or rappelling, but if you are using a side grinder it would be a wise choice indeed.

Colored Safety Lenses?

An added benefit of safety glasses is that they are now being produced as sun glasses. I for one am MUCH more comfortable outdoors if I have a pair of sunglasses to keep me from squinting which will quickly give me a headache. These sunglasses come in many different colors and it isn't just because the colors are pretty. Each color or shade of lens often has a particular task to which it is suited.

Some guidelines to colored lenses;

Amber, Yellow or Orange Lenses, These allow some light to pass through the lens making them a better choice for overcast days, but these are a bad choice for sunny days. Yellow lenses also afford excellent visibility in nighttime operations.

Brown & Copper Lenses, These lenses increase contrast between colors and are the preferred tint for driving because the contrast cuts
glare and sharpens imagery.

Gray, Smoke or Green Lenses, These lenses are the most popular because while they cut bright light they also help to keep colors looking natural.

Rose or Vermilion, These lenses provide enhanced contrast and definition in high glare situations such as seen in water and snow sports.

Flash- Mirrored Lenses, otherwise know as South Carolina super trooper glasses LOL, Regardless of their inherent colored tint, they give the wearer
private eyes, (people cannot see what your looking at) and help to reflect glare.

Keeping your safety and sun glass eyewear clean

For your glasses, safety or just plain sunglasses, to be effective you must keep them clean and scratch free. A mild soap and water are the best cleaning tools along with a wipe from a soft lint free cloth. Do not use Windex to clean your glasses, Windex contains ammonia which degrades the UV-400 uv light protection that most quality eyewear comes with. This is a coating applied by the manufacturer that reduces the UV light that gets to your eyes, at the very least it saves your eyes from strain and may possibly help prevent some eye cancers. This coating may be on clear as well as tinted lenses, UV light is "invisible" to the naked eye. Glass Plus on the other hand is safe to use on your eyewear.

To sum all this up, you've only got two eyes, no spares. I wear my glasses, non prescription safety eyewear, when I'm weed eating, riding the mower, cleaning a firearm, definitely while shooting, even when I'm just walking in the woods.

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