Why Wear Polarised Safety Glasses?

Safety glasses in front of industrial scene

In the workplace, we know the importance of keeping eyes protected from potential impact hazards. What we often forget is to protect our eyes from an everyday hazard, the sun.

The light that the sun produces can cause glare, chaotic light that overwhelms the eye and reduces visibility. Working on or near a reflective surface such as roofing or water can amplify this further, up to 80%. In order to combat the amount of light entering your eye the body’s natural defence is to squint or close the eye altogether. Not only does this reduce visibility, but causes immense strain on the eye contributing to overall body fatigue. This effect can be combated with polarised glasses, as know as anti-glare glasses.

Polarised lenses eliminate glare by organising the chaotic light entering your eye. This increases your quality of vision by improving clarity and contrast. This is extremely important when operating vehicles or working in hazardous outdoor environments.

Polarised lenses vs non polarised lenses

The sun also emits harmful ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. UVA and UVB radiation make up part of the light spectrum but fall outside of the visible light area due to the size of their wavelengths. UVA and UVB radiation have shorter wavelengths than visible light, making them invisible to the naked eye and potentially hazardous.

Wave length of visible and ultraviolet light

Protecting your eyes from UVA and UVB radiation is paramount for overall eye health. Not all safety glasses block out UV radiation. The Cancer Council Australia recommends choosing safety glasses that meet AS/NZS 1337.2010.

Read more on Safety Glasses

Get the most out of your polarised glasses by picking a close-fitting, wrap-around style with an anti-scratch lens coating. This minimises the amount of unfiltered light that reaches the eye and increase their longevity. ATOM Safety recommends polarised glasses from PPE Select.

When outside, wear them all day! Ensure that you wear your eye protection throughout the day, as UVA and UVB radiation exposure to your eye peaks in the early morning and late afternoon. This is due to the angle of the sun in relation to your eyes. Don’t be fooled by overcast weather, UVA and UVB radiation penetrate cloud cover so keep your eyes protected.

Can you wear sunglasses as safety glasses?? No, whilst some sunglasses do provide UVA and UVB protection they are not impact resistant and will not protect eyes from an impact injury. Always wear safety glasses or goggles with the appropriate impact rating for the task at hand.

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