Lab Safety Goggles: A Word To The W-Eyes

Science experiments are inherently and potentially dangerous. While controlled experiments with known results may be carried out without any risks, even there, there are too many variables to leave anything to chance – the slightest error in carrying out even the safest experiment could lead to a hazardous situation. With this kind of probability of accidents occurring, the wisest course of action is to always wear protective gear like lab safety goggles. Though it doesn't afford complete facial protection, a pair of these safeguards unarguably the most valuable asset at risk – your eyes.

Lab Safety Goggles

Versatile Protection: The Varied Uses Of Lab Safety Goggles

Though lab safety goggles are normally known to be worn only when working with chemicals, their application extends to several other branches of science as well: Biology, Anatomy, Biotechnology, Physics, and even Earth Sciences like gemology, geology and archaeology, to name just a few. In fact, anyone working with potentially hazardous materials of a particulate, liquid or gaseous nature should necessarily wear safety goggles. In the school environment, the necessity is heightened by the fact that students, especially younger ones, tend to be more careless than adult professionals, not knowing that every action of theirs counts towards overall safety.

There's Chemistry In The Air – Wear Your Lab Safety Goggles

In Chemistry, lab safety glasses can protect the eyes from chemical splashes and fumes as well as particulate matter like dust. Moreover, because they work largely with glass objects such as beakers, test tubes, chemical flasks and jars, there are chances that accidental breakages could send shards of glass flying in all directions, including towards the eyes. Protective eyewear can safely deflect any of these things that might irritate, injure, or otherwise damage the eyes. Even fire flashes in certain combustible materials can send out sparks that could cause temporary or permanent blindness, and for this reason, some chemistry lab safety glasses are sometimes tinted to protect the eyes from bright light and fire.

Don't Know Much About Biology…But I Do Know You Got To Keep Your Eyes Safe

Lab safety goggles are also used in Biology and Anatomy labs to protect wearers from squirting body fluids during dissection. Not only that, a lot of chemical preservatives like formaldehyde and formalin give out fumes that may irritate the eyes and make working difficult. Certain tissue, bacteria or fungal cultures can also cause infection so it's best to protect the eyes while working with these.

Physical Threats To Eye Safety

In Physics, moving objects are the main hazard, so lab safety goggles effectively keep the eyes safe in case one of these projectiles inadvertently target them. Experiment with radiation and laser technology calls for eye protection as well, but these are usually specially manufactured for this purpose.

The Earth And Its Debris

Earth sciences may not be the most obvious place to use lab safety goggles, but working with potentially dangerous materials like sharp rocks, poisonous plants and dust. Moreover, when working in the sun, there's a tendency to rub the sweat off your brow with the back of your hand, and this could lead to transferring dust and toxins to the eye area; safety goggles will effectively prevent this.

One Size Doesn't Fit All

These are just some of the areas of lab safety goggles usage, not a comprehensive list of any sort. However, these are the primary applications that will help to understand the need for protective eyewear. For the most part, generic safety goggles will suffice; however, there are various "classes of glasses" that can be matched to different situations. Here's a brief look at a few of them.

Splash Protection

Splash goggles are specially made to withstand harmful chemicals. They usually have adjustable elastic bands to hold the goggles close to the face. Good ones have protected vents to keep the air circulating for comfortable prolonged usage, and the best have anti-fogging coating to counter condensation.

Projectile Protection

Impact goggles are meant for solid-matter protection, and are normally scratch resistant and shatterproof - useful for warding off Identified Flying Objects.

Radiation Protection

UV goggles are high-end ones that are used when working in irradiated environments; special goggles are also worn for nuclear radiation such as in nuclear medicine facilities.

Watchers' Protection

Safety glasses and face shields are of simpler designs, and are meant for observers of experiments rather than for those actually conducting them. They are often cheaper and of a not-so-sturdy design.

Lab Safety Accessories

Hopefully you're not finding the variety in lab safety goggles too overwhelming. Most of the time you will know what sort of protection you'll be needing, which should make your choice much easier. For instance, odds are good you won't be dealing with radiation, and if you are, hopefully you don't need this article to know what you're doing. With that in mind it's probably wise to look at some additional safety equipment just in case.

Lab coats are no longer just a fashion accessory, but a practical garment for labwork. It successfully protects your arms, legs, and torso from wayward splashes. The white color is purposeful - you can see immediate if you get something on your person, allowing you to take immediate action in the case of corrosive or poisionus mixtures.

Lab gloves might be vinyl, leather, rubber or latex. Protecting your hands is one of the most important things you can do in the lab, and while gloves won't protect you from crushing forces, they should prevent any harmful fluids from wrecking havoc on your fragile digits.

If You've Come This Far, Don't Stop Now

A note to users: While the best lab safety goggles may afford a great amount of eye protection, the best way is to practice safe common sense methods when working in a hazardous environment. Lab goggles can only go so far to give you the protection you need, but they should be supported by sound safety procedures and lab habits.