Eyes are one of the most important, but also most vulnerable, parts of the body. They need the very best in protection to avoid injury when tackling hazardous workplace tasks. Working with chemicals, metals, dust, projectile objects, vapour, heat, or ultraviolet radiation can all pose threats to the eyes, and therefore the livelihoods, of employees.
It is the employer's responsibility to risk-assess the workplace to determine whether hazards that necessitate the use of eye protection are likely to be present before assigning employees with eye protection, which may include safety spectacles, goggles, face shields and visors. The use of safety eyewear in the workplace is governed by the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Work Regulations 2002, and employers are also required to also comply with the European Standard EN 166:2002 in the use of eye protection.
The majority of workplace eye injuries result from flying objects, such as chips, particles, sand and dirt, or falling or swinging objects, such as chains, while splash contact with hazardous chemicals is another significant cause of injury. Mechanics, woodworkers, masons, plumbers, assemblers, sanders, grinding machine operators, welders and labourers are amongst the groups of workers most vulnerable to eye injuries.
While safety eyewear is easily available for those with 20:20 vision, what about the 25 per cent of people who wear glasses at some stage of the day for distance or close work? Clearly the best possible vision is essential to be able to work properly and safely. Prescription safety eyewear is the answer, and this is made easier and quicker for safety professionals to access by uvex’s web-based prescription eyewear accounts.
Cliff Hanshew, manager of uvex’s prescription department, explains why the company decided to set up this system.
Head of Prescription Department
We had been using a system of five-page forms for employers to order prescription eyewear for their staff. Although it worked well, it was very time-consuming and wasteful as we bought 50,000 forms a year but would only get 30,000 back – that was a huge waste of paper, so we decided to put the system online.
So how does it work? Once the customer organisation’s details are set up on the website, they are emailed their login details and a password to their unique page. Safety officers are then able to order safety prescription spectacles on behalf of employees, after which there are three options. One, the employer fills in employee’s details and purchase order numbers if relevant, and selects the frames and lens material type they require according to the type of protection required. They then print the form off and give it to the employee, who takes it to their optician and the optician processes the order on the portal and submits it to uvex for manufacturing. uvex sends the completed spectacles back to the optician.
The second option is to email the employee directly with the completed form, which they print off and take to their local optician. uvex works with national and independent dispensing opticians throughout the country to ensure easy access to prescription safety glasses. The opticians can also ensure frames fit precisely and workers’ vision is perfectly crisp and clear.
Customers do not need a new account as they can use their existing uvex distributor account. “With the old paper version, an average of 23 percent of forms are incomplete or incorrect,” notes Hanshew. “But the web version speeds up the process. The optician must fill it in correctly or the system won't let you move on to the next stage.” Savings are made on the cost of postage, as well as on time taken. In addition, employers do not have to file paper records, as the employees’ information stays on the database and can be viewed at any time. “It’s just so straightforward” adds Hanshew.
Wearing safety eyewear without the correct prescription can result in eyestrain and consequent headaches and fatigue. Wearing safety spectacles over prescription glasses is sometimes used as an option, but this is not as satisfactory in comfort, protection, style or visibility terms as just wearing one form of eye protection.
Although it probably should not be the most important factor, style and looks can be key to persuading people to wear safety eyewear. It’s also important that those who have to wear corrective eyewear are not discriminated against by colleagues, so the provision of fashionable but efficient prescription eyewear will add to the likelihood of it being accepted and worn when necessary.
If prescription eyewear is not worn correctly, the user runs the risk of a myriad of possible injuries, ranging from chemical splash, which can be deflected upwards from a work surface under ill-fitting goggles, to impact from fast moving particles.
The uvex system allows users easy access to safety prescription glasses that deliver on individual fit, comfort, product performance and style to maximise safety.
About uvex group
The uvex group unites four companies under one roof: the uvex safety group, the uvex sports group (uvex sports and ALPINA), the Filtral group (Filtral and Primetta) and Protecting People GmbH for the B2C business. The uvex group is represented by 49 branches in 22 countries and produces by conviction with a focus on Germany. 60 percent of the nearly 3,000 employees (as of FY 2020/21) are based in Germany. uvex is a global partner to top international sports as an outfitter to countless top athletes. The guiding principle of protecting people is both a mission and an obligation. To this end, the uvex group develops, produces and sells products and services for the safety and protection of people in the professional, sports and leisure sectors.