PPE for Lab Professionals

In a laboratory, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Taking steps to prevent exposure to hazards comes in many forms; establishing a culture of safety, administering regular inspections, and wearing protective gear, just to name a few. Personal protective equipment (PPE) comes in many different forms and varieties; knowing what equipment to wear and when to wear it is half the battle to keeping everyone in a workplace safe.

As part of a laboratory’s staff, you know that many of the chemicals and substances worked with in a lab are dangerous to handle. Accidental exposure to chemical solutions, biological agents, or other contaminated substances can cause extreme and permanent damage. Of course, taking precautionary steps such as working under a ventilation hood is a good start, but to increase lab safety, workers will also need to wear quality PPE.

Diving into Lab Safety Head-First

Starting at the top, protecting the eyes and face is a simple way to greatly increase safety in your lab. Not only do those working in the lab need protection from splash hazards, they need to increase their defenses against harmful fumes that can irritate and burn the eyes and other soft tissues. Properly using safety eyewear and face shields can significantly decrease these risks.

 Key Considerations
  • Anti-fog coating, or ventilated frames
  • Goggles that seal around the eyes
  • Compatibility with respirators
  • Compatibility with/prescription lens options
  • Heat-reflective face shield window
  • Removable or lift-front face shield design
 Recommended Gear

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2400 Verdict® Goggle

Getting a Grip on Safety with Gloves

Wearing gloves reduces the risk of contact with substances that you may not even know are there. Whether you’re pouring, mixing, or just cleaning up, gloves are an important piece of armor against accidental chemical contact. There are many qualities to think about when choosing the right gloves for the task at hand.

 Key Considerations
  • Reusability
  • Thickness or puncture resistance
  • Durability
  • Resistance to hazardous chemicals and substances
  • Coating
  • Extended or incidental contact coverage
Recommended Gear

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NitriShield Gloves

Dress for the Job

While wearing a hazmat suit should be more of the exception than the rule, being covered from head to toe in protective garments is still a good idea. Of course, clothing that is loose or provides inadequate coverage is never safe. Most, if not all, scientific labs will require hemlines below the knee, sleeves that come to the wrist, and closed-toe footwear. Some labs also require the use of shoe covers to prevent the spread of chemicals from work area to work area.

Key Considerations
  • Intensity of splash hazards
  • Resistance to chemicals and hazardous substances
  • Flame resistance
  • Tight cuffs around wrists and ankles
  • Ease of removability in case of contamination
Recommended Gear

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12WPC Coveralls

PRO3 = PROfessional PROtection PROviders

US Standard Products has a wide selection of top quality protective equipment that provides safer and smarter protection in the lab. Start exploring your options by downloading our free catalog or calling 1-844-877-1700 today.

To stay up-to-date on the latest workplace safety news and trends, follow US Standard Products on social media:

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Picking Proper Protection: Face Shields

In any workplace, there are a number of hazards that an employee might encounter and be injured by. Among these threats are several dangers to the eyes and face. But Prevent Blindness America has found that these injuries are some of the most preventable. In recent years, they have identified 86,000 work-related accidents that could have ended with a serious eye injury but were prevented by the proper use of eye protection. While many professionals are actively promoting the use of safety eyewear, civic and manual labor professionals often need the added protection of a face shield. While you should never wear a face shield by itself, knowing when to and what kind of face shield to wear for a task is essential when picking out protection for your employees.

When to Wear

OSHA requires all employers to, “ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.” But when exactly is the additional protection of a face shield necessary?

Put simply, face shields should be worn when safety eyewear offers insufficient protection for the potential hazards present in a situation. Since face shields do not seal in the face, safety eyewear should always be worn underneath. This ensures that workers are protected from hazards slipping behind the shield and into their eyes. See our blog about the basics of preventing eye injury for more information on safety glasses and goggles.

What to Wear

Three options to consider when picking out face shields for your worksite include window material, headgear, and operation design:

  • Window Material – There are three main materials used to make face shield windows: polycarbonate, Lexan, and wire mesh. Polycarbonate and Lexan shields are both advanced plastics and protect against impacts, but Lexan is more scratch resistant. Wire mesh windows offer less protection against fine particle and liquid splash hazards, but they never fog up.
  • Headgear – Wearing a face shield shouldn’t interfere with other protective equipment. When you need to be wearing head protection as well as a face shield, you can attach the shield to a hard hat with a bracket. Otherwise, face shields can be attached to their own, specialized headgear for a comfortable, safe fit.
  • Operation Design – Being able to operate safety equipment with minimal interruption to workflow is an important detail to consider. Face shields can operate in two ways: as removable windows or lift-front visors. Removable face shields are designed to be simple to replace while lift-front visors make it quick and easy to raise and lower the face shield during a task.

US Standard Products has a wide selection of face shields that provide safer and smarter protection for manual labor and civic maintenance professionals, including welders. Visit our website to download our free catalog and start exploring your options. To stay up-to-date on the latest workplace safety news and trends, follow US Standard Products on social media:

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Reducing Eye Injury: The Basics

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that about 2,000 workers in the US sustain a work-related eye injury that requires medical attention each day. Prevent Blindness America and many other professional organizations maintain that 90% of these accidents could be prevented. As an employer, you are responsible for providing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for every person working under your supervision. You can do your part to prevent these injuries from happening by understanding when eye protection should be worn and what type of protection should be used for different tasks.

When to Wear

OSHA requires workers to wear eye protection when “exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.” If there is even a remote chance that an employee could be struck by an object, exposed to toxic fumes, or ultra-bright light, (like from a welding arc), they are required to protect their eyes to avoid eye injury.

Even with this defined list, however, eye injuries are still occurring in US workplaces at alarming rates. There are many factors that lead to the 20,000 workplace eye injuries reported each year,  including workers wearing old, worn out gear, wearing equipment improperly, and even not wearing any protection at all.

What to Wear

There are three main variables when deciding what eye protection is best for a task: lens color, lens thickness, and type of frame.

  • Lens Color – The lens color used with eye protection should be largely dependent upon the lighting condition. Generally, clear lenses will provide the proper protection. However, when working outdoors, in low-lit areas, or on welding tasks, different colored, coated, and filtering lenses are recommended. To learn more, read our blog dedicated specifically to colored lenses and their applications.

  • Lens Thickness – Some jobs have an increased risk for high-impact hazards. Machinists, millwrights, carpenters, plumbers, and pipe fitters are all positions that should have more than just basic impact protection. High-impact lenses may still require the use of additional protective measures like side or face shields.

  • Type of Frame – While mostly interchangeable, there are some differences that should be considered when choosing what protection to provide workers. Goggles are more prone to fogging up than glasses due to their sealing fit around the eyes, and may require frequent removal to clean the lens. Glasses may not fog as easily, but they leave the wearer open to splash contamination and should be worn with side shields when impact hazards are present.

Eye Protection from the Pros

As an employer, it is your responsibility to create a culture of safety and ensure that all your employees are properly wearing the protection that you’ve provided them. Take the time to train your employees about what tasks in your workplace require which kinds of safety gear. Additionally, when a worker reports that their safety equipment, including eye protection, is worn out, it is your duty to replace the old equipment.

US Standard Products has a wide selection of top quality protective eyewear that provides safer and smarter eye protection. Start exploring your options by downloading our free catalogue or calling 1-844-877-1700 today.

To stay up-to-date on the latest workplace safety news and trends, follow US Standard Products on social media:

Google+ | LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Colored Safety Glasses: More than Just a Fashion Statement

While lens tints on safety glasses look fashion-forward, the primary purpose of the colored lenses is actually to enhance a worker’s vision under various lighting conditions. In this blog, we’re exploring different lens options, their applications and the percentage of visible light transmission (VLT), which refers to the amount of visible light that can pass through the lens.

Popular Lens Colors

Whether you work primarily indoors, outdoors, or require specific color enhancement there’s a lens color out there that’s ideal for your situation. Here’s a look at some of the most common lens colors and their uses:

Clear: Provides excellent optics for general applications where impact protection is required. 85% VLT

Grey: Use for outdoor applications where light and glare can cause eye strain and fatigue. 12% VLT

Light Gray: Serves the same purpose as gray lens, yet allows more visible light through the lens for indoor/outdoor use. Reduces glare from artificial light such as halogen and fluorescent. 62% VLT

Amber: Blocks the blue portion of the visible light spectrum, creating maximum contrast enhancement, particularly in low light. 85% VLT

Orange: Excellent for indoor and low light areas as well as cloudy or hazy days. Blocks out the blue and green light portion of the visible light spectrum. 57% VLT

Fire, Blue Diamond, Emerald, Rainbow, Blue, Silver, Banana Mirror and Copper: For outdoor use where sunlight and glare cause eye strain and fatigue. A mirror coating reflects light, reducing the amount of light that passes through the lens. 9% VLT

Brown: Outdoor applications where sunlight and glare cause eye strain and fatigue. Meets color traffic signal recognition requirements. 12% VLT

Indoor/Outdoor Clear Mirror: Allows more visible light through the lens for indoor/outdoor use. Reduces glare from artificial light such as halogen and fluorescent. 55% VLT

Vermilion: Enhances contrast while reducing all colors equally for optimum color recognition. Ideal for indoor inspection. 55% VLT

Light Blue: Allows more visible light through the lens for indoor/outdoor use. Reduces glare from artificial light such as halogen and fluorescent. 70% VLT

Bonus Features

Sometimes workers need a little extra oomph when it comes to their colored safety glasses. Here are some additional features that are available:

Duramass® AF4 Anti-Fog Coating: Exclusive Duramass scratch resistant coating with anti-fog provides excellent fog prevention in high humidity environments where sudden shifts in temperature occur.

Polarized: For use outdoors to protect from excessive glare that can cause eye fatigue.

Filter Shades: Protects against ultra-violet and infrared radiation generated when working with molten metal, and in welding, cutting, soldering and brazing. See guide below for applications and recommendations for filter shades.

Operation Recommended Filter Shade
Torch Soldering 2
Torch Brazing 3
Light Cutting up to 1”* 3
Medium Cutting 1” to 6”* 5
Heavy Cutting more than 6”* 5
Gas Welding, light, up to 1/8”* 5
Gas Welding, medium, 1/8” to 1/2″* 5

*Indicates thickness of material to be cut

For more information about colored safety glasses and to browse our selection of eye protection, download the U.S. Standard Products Safety Catalog today. All glasses available in the catalog pass the ANSI Z87+ standard for coverage, impact protection and optical clarity, while many also meet the EN166 (Europe), CSA Z94.3 (Canada) and AS/NZS 1337.1 (Australia and New Zealand) standards.

The definitions provided above are general descriptions only. Consult your workplace safety director to ensure the proper application.