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Safety eyewear in mining

safety eyewear mining mine workers
Selecting the best safety eyewear for mining operations can improve compliance

Identifying why some mineworkers still fail to wear safety eyewear is a perplexing question. When people know and understand the risks of an eye injury but still won’t comply with policy or risk-based recommendation can be frustrating for many mine safety officers and supervisors alike.

Non-compliance is, was and can still be a struggle in some mining operations, however, it’s encouraging to note that recent enhancements in comfort and quality of mining safety eyewear really don’t provide reasonable excuses for mine workers not to take up the protection they offer.

Visual acuity – or lack thereof – is among the foremost and oftentimes cited reasons for not wearing safety eyewear in mining operations. Some of those complaints are warranted. In past times some of  the products on offer to mine workers were substandard and may be on the end of the price-point-driven safety eyewear.

Cheaper eyewear is different from many perspectives despite meeting Australian standards. They may offer poor quality lens materials and are not designed to deliver a clear, distortion-free vision.

Wearing safety eyewear with inferior quality optics almost always invariably results in eye fatigue and discomfort. In general, the best way to obtain lenses with superior optical clarity is to select recognized brands with established reputations as quality providers of safety eyewear.

While you’ll expect to pay a little more, you’ll, without doubt, see a virtually immediate increase in compliance. Mine workers like quality safety eyewear. It’s that simple.

safety eyewear fogging
Fogging of safety eyewear is a real concern for most mine workers.

While clarity rates highly amongst mine workers concerns, next up is the unwanted and generally dangerous buildup of moisture on the inner lenses of glasses and spectacles, unremarkably called fogging.

Several (but in no way all) manufacturers of safety eyewear for mining offer some level of protection against fogging. It’s necessary to note that not all anti-fog technologies are equally effective. For that reason, the most effective way to be sure of the effectiveness of an anti-fog treatment is to undertake trials in your specific mine setting. Working underground is significantly different to open cust operations so ensuring trials are conducted in all representative work areas can save you pain and heartache in the long term.

On mining sites with production and maintenance facilities that involve processes like drilling, lathe work and high-speed fabricating equipment; chemical production; or maybe even the simple presence of an excessive quantity of mud and dirt, sealed eyewear could also be needed. Sealed eyewear provides mine worker protection to microscopic and semi-microscopic mobile particles.

As a result of sealed eyewear should fit snugly to the wearer’s face, the problem oftentimes mentioned –

safety eyewear trials
Selecting the right safety eyewear should involve mining site trials.

notably, once the safety eyewear is used for extended periods of time is that comfort will always be a factor. Look for fastidiously formed foam inserts which will be simply removed and replaced over the life of the safety eyewear. Of course, it’s a given to say that anti-fog technology is extraordinarily necessary for sealed safety eyewear.

To one degree or another, safety and production managers can still struggle with workers’ reluctance to wear safety eyewear in some mining environments. However, progressive companies and advanced safety eyewear technologies together with recent enhancements – including improved optical clarity, modern, light-weight materials and finely tuned biotechnology materials – have helped several mining operations move considerably closer to unanimous compliance.

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