outdoor-workers should wear polarised safety glasses to protect their eyes from UV rays and glare

According to the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks, outdoor workers are three times more likely to develop certain eye conditions than indoor employees. Professionals who work outdoors spend an average of 6 hours per day under direct sunlight, which results in high exposure to UV rays.This article looks at the use of polarised eyewear in such environments

Excessive amounts of UV radiation can cause health issues; eyesight problems being among the most common. Further, some environmental factors can increase exposure and intensify the impact that these rays have on workers’ vision. Reflected light from water, glass or concrete is an example of this.

To create a safe environment for all workers, managers have to consider the impact of UV radiation. They must find effective ways to combat the effects of sunlight without reducing the team’s visibility or productivity.

Increasingly, managers are relying on polarised eyewear to protect against the negative effects of UV radiation

In this article, we will go over the different elements that affect the health of exterior workers’ eyes. We’ll also discuss the innovative polarised technology featured in our safety sunglasses, which are designed to protect and reduce the negative consequences of UV exposure in the eyes.

What Factors Impact the Eyesight of Outdoor Employees?

eyesight is an important concern for workers both indoor and outdoor

There are many different factors that affect the health of exterior workers’ vision. That said, the most common are floating debris, air pollutants, harmful chemicals, and, of course, UV radiation.
Although air pollution and floating particles pose a big risk, UV rays are by far the most dangerous threat. Recent studies suggest that UV radiation is linked with pterygium, cataracts, and macular generation. It is estimated that close to 3.2 million people lose their eyesight every year due to conditions related to solar UV exposure.
Furthermore, certain environmental factors can increase the intensity and exposure to UV radiation. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Atmospheric Composition: The gas composition of the atmosphere directly interacts with UV radiation. This can increase exposure through processes such as absorption, reflection, refraction, and diffusion.
  • Altitude: Some work areas are thousands of meters above sea level, which means they are closer to the sun and receive higher doses of UV radiation.
  • Cloud Formations: While some cloud formations may reduce UV light, others can increase exposure and magnify its effect. Light cloud formations work like a magnifying glass, so they can increase the impact UV rays have on the eyes.
  • UV Light Reflection: The most common cause of increased UV radiation is reflection. Water, metal, glass, and other surfaces can reflect UV rays, magnifying their effect along the way. For instance, a fresh layer of snow can shine back up to 85% of the sun’s UV lights, which is not ideal for workers in cold conditions.
  • Physical Traumas: Blunt physical traumas can come from tools, construction materials, and other sources. In agriculture alone, direct trauma represents 96% of all occupational injuries. These can cause lacerations and retinal detachment among other injuries, which can be prevented with safety sunglasses.
  • Foreign Bodies: As with blunt trauma, foreign bodies can float into unprotected eyes and damage the cornea. Often, workers try to rub or wash out their eyes instead of seeking medical attention, which can make their injuries worse.
  • Chemicals and Other Liquids: There are close to 36,000 cases of ocular chemical burns every year. Besides discomfort and pain, these injuries can produce acute glaucoma and permanent loss of vision, so they should be treated as a medical emergency.
  • Abrasion from Rubbing: when they get hurt, it is common for a workers’ first reaction to be to rub or scratch their eyes. This can cause more damage or produce new injuries that could have been prevented through protective eyewear.

Even though UV radiation seems like the only hazard, there are many other factors that can affect exterior workers’ vision. As a matter of fact, up to 20% of workplace eye injuries may result in permanent loss of vision. For this reason, providing optimal safety equipment like an anti-reflective or polarised feature is the best way to protect exterior employees’ eyes.

Industries that Need to Protect Their Outdoor Employees’ Eyesight

Bolle safety has a range of polarised safety glasses for use in a range of industries

While there are many elements that can affect outdoor workers’ vision, not all apply to every industry.
For instance, office employees need a different type of protection than outdoor workers. If workers spend most of their time outdoors, managers should assess the safety mechanisms they have in place to help protect their vision and overall health.
Some of the industries that need to focus on protecting their outdoor employees’ eyesight include, but are not limited to:

  • Offshore oil rigs, offshore aeolic energy, shipbuilding and marine construction: Workers in these industries are exposed to huge amounts of direct sunlight as well as glare from the water and metal structures.
  • Transportation and aviation (drivers and pilots): Altitude increases UV radiation and so pilots are exposed to higher levels than most other trades. Drivers don’t go as high, but they get more glare from reflected sunlight from light-coloured footpaths and other vehicles. Not only this, both trades receive magnified UV rays that pass through vehicles’ windshields.
  • Electrical work, aviation mechanics, outdoor fabrication, and construction: Unlike some industries, these employees can spend their entire shift outdoors. They encounter several sources that produce glare. These range from metal surfaces to glass building, which put a massive amount of strain on their eyes.
  • Manufacturing and metal forming: Professionals in the metal forming and manufacturing industries are exposed to both UV light from natural and man-made sources, so having the right eyewear in these industries is crucial.
  • Open-field mines, most branches of agriculture: Workers in agriculture and open-field mining can experience long-term damage due to UV radiation, but are also at a high risk of suffering blunt trauma to the eye.

The good news is that 90% of eye accidents that happen in the workplace can be prevented through protective equipment. By wearing polarised eyewear, administrators can protect their team and reduce the chances of a workplace accident across the board.

Comparing Direct UV Light and Glare

Bolle Safety polarised safety glasses help prevent UV damage from glare and sunlight

Despite the fact that they may come from the same source, it’s important to know the difference between glare and direct UV rays. Most people are exposed to direct sunlight every day, sometimes for several hours in a row.

However, outdoor employees that work close to reflective surfaces are also exposed to glare. Glare is UV radiation that bounces off water and other reflectors, then enters workers’ eyes. These rays exert more pressure on the ocular system, which in turn may produce a permanent loss of vision and other serious effects.
In these cases, polarised eyewear can help protect outdoor workers’ eyesight without forcing them to spend time off the job.

In these cases, having polarised eyewear can help protect exterior workers’ eyesight without forcing them to spend less time off the job.

Introducing Polarised Eyewear Technology

polarized eyewear helps prevent eye damage

Every day, 2,000 workers suffer from eye injuries on the job in the US alone. Not only this, but all outdoor employees are constantly exposed to direct UV light as well as glare.

Safety eyewear has been a standard for many industries in the UK, the US, and other parts of the world. Moreover, line managers can opt for polarised safety glasses that feature a specific technology, which stops reflected UV light from damaging their workers’ vision.

Even the safety glasses that workers wear can reflect light into their eyes when they turn their back on the sun. Therefore, managers need to pay special attention and take their time researching in order to find the best option for their employees.


the composition of a polarised lens

Although they appear similar, smoked safety glasses with coloured tints don’t provide as much protection as polarised eyewear. This is because they only reduce light transmission; they don’t stop reflected light. Workers can still suffer from long-term eye problems even if they wear normal tints as instructed.

In contrast, the chemical layer and laminate finish in polarized lenses reorganize light as it passes through the safety glasses. The lenses block out all horizontal rays produced by glare; a concept like the mechanism found in window blinds. With less glare, outdoor workers will experience an improvement in definition and colour appreciation.

the composition of a 'smoke tinted' lens

The technology in polarised lenses is designed to block glare in all environments, both interior and exterior. Polarised safety glasses, goggles, and other eyewear also provide a more natural view, sharper image, and increased visibility.

This makes polarised eyewear the best choice in most cases, but remember to assess each case and consider the team’s overall well-being.


polarised safety glasses protect eyes from trauma as well as sunlight and glare

There’s no denying that eye injuries are common in the workplace. However, they are far more common in outdoor employees due to the sheer nature of these trades. This means that managers have to take precautions that help reduce the chance of an accident.

Floating particles, chemical burns, and extensive sun exposure are just some of the variables that can affect the team’s vision. These can produce short and long-term damage, so creating a safe environment for outdoor workers should be at the top of any manager’s priorities.

In the large majority of cases, these accidents can be prevented with adequate safety protection. The tips above should help you safeguard outdoor workers’ vision while still allowing them to perform their job.

Bolle Safety


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