Safety Goggles help prevent discomfort, injury to the eye, hospitalisation, the need for surgery, and partial blindness.
Using grinders with no eye protection is high risk, and regularly results in injuries and trips to A&E.
Eye injuries still occur every year to people wearing safety goggles, so making the right choice matters.
There is currently a severe nationwide shortage of spare eyes. No improvement in this situation is expected any time soon.
- Its quicker not to bother
It may seem so at the time, but the incidents that too often result will wipe out that time saving many times over, and give you much bigger problems to worry about than saving a poxy 30 seconds.
- I'm OK
Often you will be, but sometimes not. Unfortunately those sometimeses aren't much fun. If that's the lottery you want to play, you can, I guess I'm just the fussy sort that doesn't volunteer for pointless misery, pain and surgery. Choosing to have life feel ok is just a habit of mine.
- Oh it won't happen to me
Maybe so. But there's no way to know. Your eyes are made of the same stuff as everyone else's. A&E staff are quite familiar with eye injury admissions due to no or inadequate eye protection.
- This'll only take a minute
Injury only takes a second.
- I've done this for 2 months without goggles and I'm fine
Lucky you. Lets hope your luck somehow continues. Or you wise up.
- I'm quite used to working with risk in DIY, stop nannying.
OK - they're your eyes after all.
It just takes so little (£2 + 30 seconds) to avoid so many accidents, accidents that are sometimes nasty, and permanently damage your life through impaired vision. Its your choice though.
- I'm kin 'ard
Maybe, but your eyes are made of the same stuff as everyone else, and you won't half look a prat sitting in the eye surgery unit. You won't look too smart on site doing something that's going to injure you either.
- It'll take too long to go buy goggles, I've got a job to do
It takes even longer at A&E. Some days people have to sit there for 8 hours before they get seen to. Then sometimes there's time off & followup appointments.
Types of Safety Goggles
Indirect vent goggles (left) and direct vent goggles (right)
- Direct Vent goggles have lots of tiny holes to allow moisture out. Unfortunately they also allow sparks from angle grinders in. These are ok for low risk uses such as sanding, but just not upto it for angle grinder use.
- Indirect Vent goggles Have plastic 'knobs' stuck in them for ventilation. The air path through these indirect vents is serpentine, and the chance of a particle following exactly that path and getting in is vanishingly small.
- Wraparound safety eyewear is available that goes over glasses.
- Non-enclosed eyewear is of very limited use in DIY work. Never rely on such goggles when grinding. They may be useful for nuisance-only situations, but not many DIY goggle uses are non-risk.
Angle grinders are a particular issue in this area. Every single spark in that orange shower is a red hot piece of metal, grit, or whatever you're grinding. And sometimes a whole lot of them are coming at you thick and fast. Most follow predictable paths, but some don't. Particles at below red heat are still injurious, but not normally visible.
Direct vent goggles are inadequate because the hot particles are not always spherical and can follow wiggly paths through the air, through the vent holes and into your eye.
Indirect vented goggles are the solution. Always use indirect vent goggles with grinders.
Goggles also give some protection against disc breakage, workpiece throwing and tool throw.
Your Nose is a Hazard
Having chosen the right goggles, are your eyes safe? Not quite, because goggles don't always stay closely fitted around the nose. If not positioned correctly, if the strap is not quite tight enough or poorly positioned, if you move your head and the goggles move slightly, you've exposed an air path past your nose straight to your eyes again.
Check there are no gaps around your nose before work.
Goggles are also a Hazard
Goggles deteriorate. When you can no longer see clearly, replace them.
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