The Compulsory wearing of Safety glasses on construction sites.

Discussion in 'Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Clothing' started by Brian, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. Brian

    Brian Member

    Is it common sense to enforce stupid rules.:(

    A question asked on another forum.
    Hi Guys-I am looking for a bit of input and advice -please - on several construction sites visited recently the wearing of safety glasses is mandatory. I understand the reasoning behind this rule.

    But my question is -Is there any evidence that wearing of safety glasses for a 9 hour day (taking into account that some are really cheap) that to introduce a plastic lens in front of your eyes (not being prescription lens) will lead to poor vision over several years and will we be going down the same road as progressive hearing loss. I look forwards to your input.

    My thoughts. What are yours?

    PPE Saves lives and injury. But do not enforce the wearing of PPE and dictate to all and sundry without good reason, I would suggest that in this case and on most standard construction sites, the reason for the safety glasses being worn is not actually known.

    (What is the primary purpose of the standard type safety glasses such as the ones MOST commonly found on construction sites)


    The majority of safety glasses are not suitable for stopping dust and bits of windblown debris or sand; they are generally only suitable for impact protection.

    It is generally only safety goggles, appropriately marked, that can offer protection against dust - check out the markings on the product to confirm what they are suitable for.

    Health and safety law does not prescribe when and where safety glasses must be worn, but would expect protective equipment to be required “Only in areas where there is a real risk”.

    Many sites do choose to set PPE as a "blanket" requirement rather than specifying when and where it should be worn.

    The site management and safety educator and trainer should be and had better be prepared and able to explain very clearly and with a very valid and substantiated reason, the reasons behind their enforcing these particular PPE requirements. Other than “Oh! It is the Clients SHE Spec or the client says we must?

    Although standard safety glasses do not appear to harm vision, if they are not appropriate for a person's eyes, they can cause eyestrain, or asthenopia, after prolonged use. Normally safety glasses have the same focusing power for both the left and the right eye, so it does not make any difference for the wearer who has normal 20\20 vision or for those whose eyes often do not match the exact prescription of many wearers who have a significant difference in the power of their eyes. However when wearing non prescriptive safety glasses they can cause a power mismatch, called anisometropia, which can also cause migraine headaches, headaches and eyestrain or asthenopia .

    Eye strain, or asthenopia, is when the eyes get tired from excessive or intense use. It can be annoying, but tends to disappear with rest. Although it’s not a serious condition, eye straining could be a sign or symptom of an underlying problem. Eye strain is known to make you tired, make it difficult to concentrate, and to cause headaches as I have said.

    The quality and durability of safety glasses vary widely. Cheap models -- costing as little as a few rands -- may have lenses that scratch easily and distort vision. Expensive models -- costing 50 rands or more -- may incorporate some or all of the desirable characteristics of high-quality and phototropic lenses etc.

    However I am told by my optometrist that there is no permanent harm to the eyes from wearing poorly focused or distorted lenses, and very few of the good brand safety glasses have distorted lenses, unless the glasses are not looked after properly. However, eye strain problems, and poor quality vision from cheap or improperly fitted safety glasses can reduce productivity and accuracy.

    It is advised though that it is preferable to rest the eyes at reasonable regular intervals for 5 to10 minutes at a time. So finally, I would say that it is important only to wear non prescriptive safety glasses only when and where specifically required and not because it is a “blanket" requirement rather than specifying when and where it should be worn.

    My opinion, is that if it is enforced without good sound, sensible reason or cause as may be explicitly identified in a risk assessment, then one should have an entry baseline eye test and examination and present a copy of the results to the employer and have your eyes tested annually as with other HSE standards and requirements, as one could end up going down the same road as progressive hearing loss, and That!! In spite of the fact that we are told standard safety glasses do not appear to harm vision.

    (Over a prolonged period I think they do, but then again I am not a specialist on the subject or an Optometrist)

    At least one would be in possession of documented proof of the deterioration of one’s eyes in the event of a legal, civil or medical claim if it could be proved that the direct cause was the enforced wearing of safety glasses (a plastic lens in front of your eyes (not being prescription lens)) for a 9 hour day has lead to poor vision over several years.

    Thanks for the question and interesting topic which led me back to the books and library to do some research and enquiry with my local optometrist in Cape Town.

    Now I too am more educated on the topic and will not be enforcing eye protection “Just because”

    As this too may just come down to the question o_O"Is it common sense to enforce stupid rules":confused:

    Lets have some feed back from the real top HSE executives and Pro's please.
  2. Change Agent

    Change Agent Member

    This sounds like the way I play pool. Calling all pockets!

    If a blanket rule is made, it is a clear indication that the rule-maker has no idea of what he/she wants to prevent or control.

    And I bet you, this rule-maker does not even know there is a new version of the construction regulations. (S)he is most likely a file approver and not a professional and is still working on the old regulations.

    Oh, I only read your last part now. Sorry, I should not have said anything. "Lets have some feed back from the real top HSE executives and Pro's please."
  3. Brian

    Brian Member

    Lets have some feed back from the real top HSE executives and Pro's please. :)

    Oops,:oops: It seems that apparently there are non on this forum.Just me, this monkey,and the Alpha one above me for a "Change"


    When it comes to Safety Don't Monkey About.

    A woman was looking at the animals on display in a pet store.
    A few minutes later a man walked in and said to the shopkeeper, 'I'll take a Construction Monkey, please'.
    The shopkeeper nodded and took a monkey out of a cage. He put a collar and leash on the animal and handed it the man saying, 'That'll be R25,000.'The man paid and left with the monkey.

    The surprised woman went to the shopkeeper and said, 'That was a very expensive monkey. Most of them are only a few hundred rands. Why did that one cost so much? 'The shopkeeper answered, 'Ah, that's a Construction Monkey. He can drive trucks, set form work, erect scaffolding, and do plumbing, as well as electrical work and project management. All with no back chat, talk or complaints. He's well worth the money.' The woman then spotted a monkey in another cage.

    'That one's even more expensive! R30, 000! What does it do?''Oh, that one' replied the shopkeeper, 'That's a Project Field Engineer, he can read drawings, answer RFI's, make As-built's and inspect quality and do everything a Construction monkey can do. A very useful monkey indeed.'

    The woman looked around a little longer and found a monkey with a R80, 000 price tag.
    The shocked woman exclaimed, 'This one costs more than all the others put together! What in the world can it do?''Well,' said the shopkeeper, his name is Brian. 'I've never actually seen him do anything except drink beer, piss everybody off and play with himself.

    But his papers say he's a qualified Safety Officer.' o_O
  4. namhla

    namhla New Member

    I believe that wearing safety goggles is a requirement especially in construction. What construction employees can do is to take short intervals and remove their goggles,and change their PPE(safety goggles)more frequently.
  5. The control must match the risk, therefore there must be a Risk Assessment describing the hazard and it's risk.
    If it is at the Pre-Tender phase, the consultant will have a baseline, if it is Pre-Construction the Principal Contractor will have a (Site Specific) Task Specific Risk Assessment. The will be documentation from all the stakeholders (meetings, specialized managers&worker input, top management) that go into formulating a Risk Assessment, the possible steps of controls, the measurable reduction, the suitability and costs involved.

    This cannot be done in isolation, but is a team effort.
    If it is a specification from the Client/Agent, the Principal Contractor would have budgeted for it.
    If it is the done by the Contractor therefore would be in agreement.

    It must be a serious hazard in the workplace requiring "blanket" wearing of goggles, as it is rather uncomfortable to wear outside in the blazing sun, 9 hours at a time.
    Usually face-shields are used in specific applications and goggles in windy weather with lots of dust/debris:cool:
    My assessment is that it will just result in production loss and cost that could be better allocated:)