One thing that made a big impression on me recently was a poster depicting how well different forms of eye protection work when your head is splashed. Along the lines of “a picture is worth a thousand words,” the pictures clearly show that goggles are the hands-down best choice when it comes to working with liquids. Had I seen it when I was a student, that poster would have done a lot to get me to wear goggles rather than safety glasses. (Poster shown after the jump.)
(Media alert: When I was getting permission from Science & Safety Consulting‘s Linda Stroud and Safety Emporium‘s Rob Toreki to put up the poster image, they told me that it’s supposed to appear in the TV series The Glades as well as the upcoming movie Green Lantern.)
I know, I know, goggles can be uncomfortable and foggy. The ones I had as an undergraduate certainly were. But I’m told that, if you hunt around, better ones can be found. When I attended the Laboratory Safety Institute training at the ACS meeting back in March, LSI instructor and College of Charleston chemistry professor Jack Breazeale said that his favorites are the Stealth goggles from Uvex.
Another common eye protection issue is the question of whether it’s safe to wear contact lenses. When I worked for a pharmaceutical company in the mid-1990s, contacts were strictly forbidden. The ACS Committee on Chemical Safety apparently gave the okay in 1998 to contact lenses when working with chemicals. In 2005, the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health reviewed the information available on the topic and came down on the side of permitting them, assuming appropriate eye and face protection are worn for the task at hand.
So: You can wear your contacts if you want, but, if you value your eyesight, it’s worth investing in a good pair of goggles. Anyone have other recommendations for pairs to try out?