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Appropriate hazard specific eye protection shall be provided for all people where a risk of eye injury exists.

Typical hazards might include flying particles, dust, splashing substances, harmful gases, vapours, aerosols, and high intensity radiation from welding operations, lasers, transilluminators and strong heat sources.

Consideration must be given to the need for protecting people who are working nearby or passing close to hazardous areas. It is essential that the maximum degree of eye protection is provided.

  • Selection

    Tables 4.1 and 4.2 of AS/NZS 1336 provide guidance on selection of eye protection

    The following should be considered:

    • nature of risk to eyes. For example, radiation, impact, dust / abrasive particles, liquid / chemical splash or spray
    • conditions under which the person is working
    • visual requirements of the task
    • personal preference/comfort of wearer. This may include appearance, weight, ventilation and unrestricted vision.
    • condition of person’s eyesight.

    The following general eye protectors are available:

    • goggles - An eye protector fitting the contour of the face and held in position by an adjustable headband.
    • wide-vision goggles - An eye protector in which the lens or lenses extend over the full width of the face affording a large field of vision
    • welding helmet - A rigid eye protector which is worn by the operator to shield the eyes, face, forehead and front of the neck
    • welding handshield - A rigid eye protector which is held in the hand to shield the eyes, face, forehead and front of the neck
    • faceshield - A device which includes a transparent visor, supported in front of the face to shield the eyes
    • safety spectacles - An eye protector with protective lenses mounted in spectacle-type frames, or integrally moulded into the frames with or without side shields, and held in position by the side arms
    • tinted safety spectacles/goggles - provided to employees who require eye protection and who are generally required to work outdoors.
  • Ultraviolet and infra-red radiation

    Processes requiring moderate reduction of visible radiation and protection from ultraviolet and infrared radiation:

    • For gas welding and cutting, and resistance welding and brazing, suitable eye protection must be provided to guard against possible invisible radiation. Sufficient protection will usually be given by goggles fitted with filters of shade number 3 to 7 inclusive. (See AS/NZS 1338.1)

    Processes requiring considerable reduction of visible radiation and protection from ultraviolet and infrared radiation:

    • In processes producing ultraviolet light but where infrared radiation is not a hazard, for example, photographic reproduction work or use of transilluminators, eye protectors with ultraviolet filters should be used in accordance with AS/NZS 1338.2.
    • For work near furnaces or other intense heat sources, where both heat and visible light are produced but ultraviolet light is not a hazard, eye protectors with infrared filters in accordance with AS/NZS 1338.3 should be used.
    • For arc welding and cutting operations, protection must be provided against invisible radiation. Adequate face and eye protection in these cases can be obtained by the use of a helmet or hand shield fitted with filters having shade numbers 8 to 15 inclusive, as appropriate.

    See AS/NZS 1338.1

  • Welders

    Where a welder is likely to be exposed to stray radiation from similar nearby processes, it is essential that the person be protected while the helmet or handshield is not in use. This can be achieved by wearing either goggles or safety spectacles assembled with glass or plastic lenses of appropriate thickness and incorporating opaque sideshields. These eye protectors will also offer protection during the removal of slag after welding.

    Any person who is required to remain in the vicinity of welding operations shall be protected against the possible harmful effects of ultraviolet and infrared radiation and, in addition, should be protected against excessive visible radiation. See AS/NZS 1338.1 Table A2.

    Vicinity of welding operations

    People (other than welders and welders' assistants) whose duties require them to remain in the vicinity of arc welding operations or to pass through areas in which such operations are carried out should be protected against the possible dangerous effects of erythemal ultraviolet radiation. (See AS/NZS 1338).

    Stray radiation from arc welding

    Arc welding and similar operations should be carried out in screened enclosures. Where this is not possible, the use of mobile screens is recommended to shield other persons from stray radiation. Galvanised sheeting used for screening or other materials, which have relatively large reflective surfaces should be painted or treated with some form of light-absorbing substance.

  • Issue and fitting of eye protection

    Arrangements should be made for the issuing of personal eye protectors to ensure:

    • use of the correct type of eye protector
    • fitting of the eye protector to the wearer, wherever practicable by a person who is competent to select the correct size and type.

    Eye protectors may be issued for:

    • exclusive use by one employee/student
    • temporary use by an employee/student for a particular operation
    • temporary use by a visitor.

    The choice between issue for exclusive use by one employee and temporary issue to different employees or students will depend on the frequency and duration of exposure to hazards and the type of eye protector provided.

  • Fogging and perspiration

    When necessary, suitable anti-fogging compound should be made available for use with eye protectors. Sweat bands may be necessary for extreme conditions. Anti-fog type goggles are readily available.

  • Maintenance and re-issue

    Measures should be taken to ensure proper maintenance of eye protectors. These measures include:

    • providing proper facilities for storage, cleaning, servicing, and replacement of eye protectors and lenses
    • creating a system to ensure that all personnel are familiar with the arrangements for cleaning, repairing and replacing damaged or faulty equipment, and for correcting or adjusting uncomfortable eye protectors
    • inspecting and cleaning all eye protectors at regular intervals, after using, and before re-issuing to another person.

    The manufacturer's instructions for the cleaning of eye protectors should be followed. In the absence of such instructions wash the eye protector thoroughly with non-abrasive soap or detergent and warm water using a soft cloth, then rinse and dry. Avoid using any substance likely to scratch the surface of the lenses. Suitable tissues in wall-mounted dispensers should be available for lens cleaning.

  • Replacement

    Eye protectors and lenses should be replaced when usage, accidental damage or age has resulted in deterioration of the properties of the eye protectors to a stage where continued use could be hazardous, or where the eye protectors no longer comply with the relevant standard. In particular, lenses which have been scratched, abraded, pitted or otherwise damaged should be replaced because the protection they offer may be reduced and vision impaired.

  • Australian safety guidelines

    Guidance is available in:

    • AS/NZS 1336 Recommended practices for occupational eye protection
    • AS/NZS 2211.1 Laser Safety: Part 1 Equipment, classification, requirements and uses guide
    • AS/NZS 2211.1 Laser Safety: Part 2 Safety of optical fibre communication systems
    • AS/NZS 4173 Guide for the safe use of lasers in health care
    • AS/NZS 1337 Eye protectors for industrial applications
    • AS/NZS 1338 Filters for eye protectors
    • AS/NZS 1338.1 Filters for protection against radiation generated in welding and allied operations
    • AS/NZS 1338.2 Filters for protection against ultraviolet radiation
    • AS/NZS 1338.3 Filters for protection against infra-red radiation
    • AS 1067.1 Sunglasses and fashion spectacles : Part 1 - Safety requirements
    • AS 1067.2 Sunglasses and fashion spectacles : Part 2 - Performance requirements
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