Safe Solutions

Emphasizing eyewear

Summer months often mean intense sunlight at roofing job sites, and roofing workers typically wear protective eyewear to resist the sun's harsh rays. Unfortunately, workers may emphasize style or brand name when selecting protective eyewear based on personal preferences rather than safety. However, when analyzing and choosing eye protection for your employees, you must be more practical and consider requirements set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and relevant standards published by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Rules and requirements

OSHA sets out requirements for eye and face protection in construction in 29 CFR 1926.102, Subpart E, "Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment." The rule states workers must be provided eye and face protection "when machines or operations present potential eye or face injury from physical, chemical or radiation agents."

Hazard assessments relating to eye injuries usually focus on flying particles from cutting, sanding or grinding operations. The radiation aspect mentioned in OSHA's rule involves ultraviolet (UV) radiation burns or welder's flash that can permanently damage eyes. However, UV rays from the sun also can damage eyes, and the intensity of the sun's UV rays can be increased by light-colored or reflective surfaces—bodies of water; snow; or roof system components, materials or coatings, for example.

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