Eye Protection: What it Needs to Be and What it’s Free to Be
No matter if you’re on an indoor or outdoor jobsite, eye protection is mandatory. I spent a summer working for a power company. There’s one thing I learned about eye protection there – it is required to be butt ugly.
But does it really have to be that way? We’ve teamed up with Edge Eyewear to look at a couple of new models of eyewear and see what eye protection needs to be and what it’s free to be.
Edge Eyewear is known for having a blend of style with prices far below what you’d pay for some of the other brands out there. In fact, both models that we’re looking at can be purchased for less than $20 with basic lenses. Let’s look at what the most basic safety eyewear requirements are and what you have latitude to chose for yourself.
What Safety Glasses Need to Be: ANSI/OSHA Certified
ANSI (American National Standards Institute) is a non-profit organization that is able to set objective standards for everything from safety glasses to flashlights. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Association) is a government agency tasked with setting and enforcing jobsite safety standards. OSHA has adopted the ANSI standards for eye protection and we are currently using ANSI Z87.1-2010 (often shortened to ANSI 87.1 or just Z87.1 standards).
It’s important to note that each jobsite is different and other eyewear protection may be required. ANSI 87.1, which is what most brands are advertising, covers impact resistance. The primary goal is to keep objects from directly striking your eyes. It doesn’t prevent gasses or debris from getting in by floating around the frame though.
What Safety Glasses are Free to Be
If your jobsite only has an Z87.1 (impact) requirement for eye protection, you’re golden! Brands like Edge Eyewear create certified glasses in a variety of styles and colors to fit your preferences. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ll wear your safety glasses everywhere instead of investing in a separate set of sunglasses.
Particularly if you’re working outside, polarized lenses can be worth their weight in gold. They reduce the glare and haze created by reflection from flat surfaces like water, snow, the road, or even your truck’s hood. In addition to your outdoor safety glasses, clear lenses can also benefit from polarization.
Working outside? You want sunglasses, even on cloudy days. Aside from protection from the sun, they reduce the workload on your eyes by keeping them in a more comfortable light level. As a contact lens wearer and outdoor enthusiast, I don’t step outside without them.
It’s perfectly okay to have safety glass lenses tinted in the same colors you already prefer. My favorite is an orange frame with blue lenses (go Gators!). You can also go with photochromic (auto changing) lenses, a multiple lens system, or simply find a style you like and grab one clear lens model and one dark lens model.
New Options from Edge Eyewear
Edge Brazeau Torque
We got the Edge Brazeau Torque in a black on black configuration for outdoor use. They block 99.9% of all UVA/B/C rays and let just 16% of light in. This is similar to what I wear in my sport glasses for runs and bike rides on bright days. In fact, the Brazeau Torque features a sporty enough look that you might catch me using them on a morning run.
The frame is a nylon construction with soft TPR temple tips that increase the comfort level over long days. If you’ve ever worn a pair of safety glasses that put pressure on the wrong point, you know there’s a headache in your future.
The Edge Caraz came configured with clear lenses on a diamond plate colored nylon frame. This anti-reflective lens allows 85% of light through while still eliminating 99.9% of all UVA/B/C rays. Great for indoor work, there’s just enough light blockage to take the edge off when stepping outside while your eyes adjust.
The Caraz is a slightly taller design that the Brazeau – a little less sporty, but opening up the field of vision even more.
Edge Eyewear Available Lens Technology
While polarized lenses are the most common treatment I look for over basic lenses, Edge offers several options when considering which lenses to chose.
Aqua Precision lenses are based on NASA technology developed for astronaut helmet visors and satellite window portholes. The increased clarity and contrast results from blocking infrared light along with reducing the excess red and blue wavelengths.
Blue Light Filter
Blue light is on the short end of the wavelength. In order to process it, your eye focuses too far in front of the retina, causing blur and addition strain. The Blue Light Filter reduces the blue wavelength resulting in sharper and brighter vision.
Polarized lenses reduce glare and haze created by flat surfaces like water, snow, and roads. It accomplishes this by blocking reflected light from below the lens and glaring light above it. Only direct light is allowed in to create a clearer image.
Thanks to the US Air Force, research found that green and yellow light could be boosted. This creates a cooler image that is also higher in contrast. Warmer images tend to drift toward orange in color and start to wash out. The cooler image drifts toward blue and brings definition back. The G-15 lens accomplished this in Edge Safety Glasses.
Safety glasses don’t have to be the ugly plastic things we used to wear at the power plant. With a requirement to provide them, many companies chose not to provide something stylish because they don’t want people walking away with them. If you chose to buy your own, first make sure what your employer’s requirements are. If it’s just ANSI 87.1-2010, then you’ll have a wide open range of options. Be sure to check out Edge Eyewear for stylish, affordable certified safety glasses.