Hazard assessments must be conducted to identify the physical and health hazards present in the workplace. This is a well known fact, but the next step is to provide all of the necessary personal protective equipment required to protect employees from the identified hazards.
OSHA has established a list of basic hazard categories that need to be evaluated, which includes impact, penetration, compression, chemical, heat/cold, harmful dust, light (optical) radiation, and biological hazards. If an employee has the potential to be exposed to eye hazards from flying particles, liquid chemicals (including acids or caustics), chemical gases or vapors, potentially infectious material, or potentially harmful light radiation, appropriate eye protection must be provided to the employees at risk.
Everyday prescription glasses do not provide sufficient protection from laboratory hazards, and therefore cannot be used for eye protection. Employers are responsible for ensuring that employees requiring corrective lenses either wear prescription safety glasses or wear appropriate eye protection over their prescription lenses.
So remember to offer prescription safety glasses to all employees working in laboratories that require safety glasses. It is not uncommon for employees to hope that their regular glasses will suffice, but it is the employer’s responsibility to educate employees on the difference and need for approved safety glasses.