What makes uvex different from other PPE manufacturers?
‘You get what you pay for’ is a maxim that's extremely relevant to the purchase of safety spectacles. Buying low-cost imported safety spectacles will calculate to be the more expensive way of protecting your employees. It is possible to pay as little as £2 for a pair of basic safety glasses which will meet the European standard, however their performance often falls short when subjected to the demands of the real-world environment.
Safety eyewear – the real cost
When buying safety eyewear, companies often base their decision of which brand and type to purchase almost entirely on the price tag. But there is one important factor that is worth remembering - apart from the quality, durability, comfort, style and effectiveness of the product - and that is its real cost, by which we mean the cost when in use.
Safety eyewear is subject to a series of optional tests, under European Standard EN 168:2001, which covers non-optical test methods on personal eye protection. Under this standard, lenses may be tested for resistance to surface damage by fine particles and carry the symbol ‘K’ (alongside the CE mark supplied by the manufacturer if they meet this requirement). They may also be tested for resistance to fogging, where the lenses must remain fog-free for a minimum of eight seconds when exposed to an atmosphere above 50 degrees C. Lenses that meet this standard are marked with the symbol ‘N’. It is important to ensure that safety eyewear meets, or preferably exceeds, this voluntary standard.
As part of our ongoing research and development into lens coatings, uvex recently conducted in-house tests on the durability of the lens coatings of our own and other manufacturers’ safety glasses by repeatedly washing them to see how quickly the anti-fog coating deteriorated. This is based on the assumption of two washes per week through 44 weeks per year.
Average price per pair
Cost per 20 employees
The average spend per person shows that the user of the safety glasses costing £2 each would go through 22 pairs a year, costing an average £44 per person, while those using glasses costing £6 per pair would only need 3.6 pairs in a year because the anti-fog coating lasts indefinitely – total cost £21.60 per person per year.
The convincing results of the test demonstrate the benefit of considering the product in more ways than just the price per unit. By taking a wider view and thinking about the real cost of the product over a period of time, a simple calculation can be done to ascertain the 'cost in use' or value of the product over the annual use of an average person.
Increasing product life with uvex lens coatings
Protective eyewear is often used in harsh working environments, so the lenses are usually coated to increase their efficacy and longevity. This coating is more important than you might think and is a key factor in ensuring the eyewear is worn - and protecting the wearer. For maximum effectiveness, lens coatings should offer resistance against fogging and scratching.
Coatings can be either:
hydrophobic (moisture repelling) detergent-based coatings (which can be washed off) or
hydrophilic (moisture absorbing).
A hydrophobic coating repels moisture which ultimately leads to a build up of perspiration on the lens, which in turn requires cleaning to remove it. Eventually, depending on the quality of the coating, the detergent properties will be washed from the lens, rendering it ineffective.
Hydrophilic coatings can be produced that are permanent and do not wash off. The coating becomes sponge-like, absorbing moisture so that the wearer does not have to take off their glasses or goggles to clear any fog.
Apart from direct cost reduction, there are many significant knock-on benefits to reducing the usage of safety eyewear by purchasing better quality products. Fewer orders will be needed, so less stock will need to be held on site, reducing storage costs and keeping cash within the business. Using longer-lasting safety spectacles also means increased production time, as employees does not waste time going back and forth to replenish their glasses. Workers are also more likely to wear their protective eyewear if it does not keep failing, thus minimising risk, improving safety and increasing concentration on the job. Finally, better quality products have a longer life meaning there is less waste going to landfill.
If you have any questions about purchasing safety eyewear, contact your local uvex representative who will be happy to help: