Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Types of PPE: eyewear


Certain workers will need personal protective equipment (PPE) for their eyes to minimise the risks from their work. 

Those who will need extra protection for the eyes include people who work with:

  • Dangerous substances such as chemicals - see managing hazardous substances.
  • Machinery and tools - including activities such as welding, grinding or cutting.
  • Pressurised gases.
  • Hazardous sources of very bright light - 'artificial optical radiation' (AOR). The majority of light sources used at work are safe and you don't need to take further action. You need to manage risks to the eyes posed by hazardous sources (for example lasers and welding).

If you employ people in these or similar roles, you must provide any necessary protective equipment free of charge. If you're self-employed and carry out work of this nature, you must use the required protective equipment yourself.

Types of eye protection

There's a range of eye protection you can consider in these and similar situations, including:

  • safety spectacles
  • safety goggles
  • face shields

What should I consider?

Check that the equipment is suitable for the job. For example, are the glasses resistant to impact, chemicals, metal splashes or intense light? Will you workers wear the glasses in hot conditions and mist up? Will goggles fit under a helmet if necessary? You should also consider whether for users who wear spectacles will need prescription lenses.

Make sure you buy enough spares to cover any equipment which is damaged or lost. You should issue eye protection to each worker or clean them before re-issue. Provide cases or dust covers to protect the lenses from scratches and dust.

Some eye protection, such as swimming and ski goggles, is not covered by the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (PDF, 2MB).

Ongoing considerations

Carry out regular inspections to check the equipment is still up to the job. This may involve cleaning the lenses and checking for scratches. See maintain personal protective equipment.