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Bollé Safety national sales manager Dave Byrne speaks to Safe to Work about the importance of choosing the right safety eyewear for the right job.
Bollé Safety provides a range of safety eyewear, including glasses, goggles and face shields.
For over 60 years, the company dedicated itself to fashioning the ultimate in protective eyewear focusing on innovative coatings and providing technological solutions to make the job as comfortable as possible, whether you’re working in a surface mine or deep underground.
According to national sales manager Dave Byrne, roughly 20 to 25 per cent of work-related injuries are eye injuries, and the main cause is a lack of or inadequate protection.
Using appropriate eyewear can prevent up to 90 per cent of these injuries. So, if eye injuries are so preventable, why are they still happening?
“The biggest problem with human nature is people will always take they quickest shortcut they can,” Byrne explains.
“The issue with goggles is not everyone likes to wear them for a number of reasons. There’s a myriad of excuses why people think they shouldn’t wear them, such as it doesn’t look cool, it doesn’t feel comfortable, some people might feel claustrophobic or it blocks their vision.”
This is why Bollé Safety has developed products that are not only safer but more comfortable than traditional safety eyewear, particularly so with its new model, the ultra-panoramic 180 goggle.
An improvement on the Pilot 2 model, the ultra-panoramic 180, as the name suggests, offers a better field of vision for users, making it suitable for mining work.
With its flexible bi-material ventilated frame and Platinum anti-scratch/anti-fog coating applied on both sides of the lens, 180 goggles can fit over prescription glasses and are compatible with a respirator half-mask.
Bollé Safety also offers a range of lens solutions to suit the type of work being completed, for example a clear lens, which is suited to underground mining, versus a smoke lens for outdoor areas.
Byrne warns workers, particularly in mining to not underestimate the damage dust can do to the eyes and it should be taken as seriously as other risks like chemicals.
“When people are handling liquids or acids, they’re mostly aware they have to keep safety gear on, because they don’t want an acid burn or loss of vision,” he says.
“But I think with dust, people can be a little bit more relaxed, but there is still the risk of getting a ricochet or a foreign object going under or around the edges of glasses.
“Goggles are more effective at protecting against hazards from entering the eye due to form-fitting facial seal. Especially when working in the area where airborne dust and flying debris are present.”
“A goggle gives you a complete seal around the face so it’s less opportunity for particles like toxic dusts, aerosols, liquids and even gases to cause harm because unfortunately with traditional glasses, you can’t get that seal around the face to avoid these harmful substances.”
Bollé Safety’s research and development has been based on its clients and how to improve its goggles for comfort and productivity.
One of the main points of feedback Bollé Safety has taken on board is making goggles that can comfortably be worn over prescription glasses.
Byrne urges those who wear prescription glasses to wear goggles over them as they do not provide the same protection as specialized safety goggles or to consider safety prescription glasses (such as Baxter and Twister sealed models) which provide sealed protection around eye socket.
As well as harmful liquids, gases and particles, Bollé Safety also has thermal risk goggles, which are suitable for people working around fire.
To add to the range of different work goggles, Bollé Safety also offers various vent options, providing comfort for all kinds of environments.
“In each style we have different variations on the venting and the reason behind that is we want to expel the hot air or the humidity that’s building up within the enclosed goggle, out of the lens and keep that airflow through it,” Byrne explains.
“There are some high volatile areas that do require the top vent closed to take the risk out of getting splash in the eyes from the top of the goggle.
“By far, the most prominent model we have is the top vent open that creates that air flow through the goggle to keep your eyes protected but stop fogging.”
Byrne says it is important to remember safety goggles are not a “one size fits all” product and to weigh up what is the most comfortable for the individual.
“This is where we start breaking it down and fitting down the person’s workload, products and chemicals to fit with the most practical product for them,” Byrne says.
“People don’t really think about what it would be like to lose their eye or their vision, so it’s about making sure individuals are prepared to invest in protecting their eyesight.
“Our eyesight is like an express highway in peak hour traffic, you’ve got all of this information coming through your vision into your brain, which is breaking all of that down.
“Imagine if you lost your eyesight, what would that be like? It would be a pretty dark old spot.”
This article also appears in the January-February edition of Safe to Work.