For those mechanics that need prescription glasses, you can have your glasses made to meet OSHA/ANSI standards and then purchase clip-on side protectors to wear while on the job. There are also safety glasses large enough to be comfortably worn over prescription glasses. Another option for mechanics who wear reading glasses for manuals and nearsighted work are bifocal safety glasses. Wizard Industries offers bifocal safety glasses in five different strengths and, according to a spokesperson at Wizard, has had great success with people who don't want to remove their safety glasses to put on their reading glasses, then take them off, and put safety glasses on again. The incorporated bifocal lens makes the safety glasses hands-free when the mechanic has to read or do detail work up close.
For mechanics that want a little more fashion in their eye protection, there are a number of wraparound styles that look like a cool pair of sunglasses, especially when paired with colored lens. Another tip from an AMT Online Forum writer is "anti-fog," especially if you are required to wear the safety glasses at all times on the shop floor.
Other things to look for include adjustable temple/ear pieces, adjustable nose bridges, anti-glare coatings, indoor/outdoor lens, scratch-resistance, padded nose bridge, replaceable lenses, and curvature (which could lead to a distorted view).
Some vendors will even come and give free eye exams at your facility. Perry says the guy who comes to Duncan Aviation can't tell you what prescription you need, but can tell you it's time to see an optometrist.
Whether required or not, safety glasses make a difference. One member of the AMT Online Forum says that after his company mandated wearing safety glasses on the hangar floor, accidents decreased. Not necessarily from the glasses themselves, but the psychological effect of wearing safety glasses made the mechanics think about safety.
With all the options out there for protective eye wear, there should be something just for you. Whether it's something comfortable, something stylish, or something functional take a good look at eye protection.
A copy of ANSI Z87.1 can be purchased from the American National Standards Institute for $53.00.
Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHA)
29 CFR 1910
Fact Sheet No. OSHA 93-03 Eye Protection in the Workplace
Mine Safety Appliances Company (MSA)
Bulletin -- Understanding Changes to 2003 ANSI standards Z87.1, Z89.1, and Z117.1 (Bulletin No. 5555-192-MC)
90 percent of eye injuries are preventable through the proper use of protective eyewear
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