Safety Eyewear: What is the difference between specs and goggles?

difference between specs and goggles

Safety Eyewear: What is the difference between specs and goggles?

Wearing Safety Spectacles and Goggles is the best way to protect yourself and your team from a multitude of chemicals, dust and debris that can cause serious injuries to your eyes. However, using any type of protective eyewear is not enough. Did you know that, according to the Department of Health & Safety at the University of Tennesseethree out of five injuries in the workplace happen to individuals not wearing safety eyewear, whilst the remaining part happen when wearing the wrong type of eye protection? To get the best level of protection, it is essential to understand the difference between specs and goggles and identify the best option for your needs. 

After guiding you through Protective Gloves and helping you understand Safety Footwear Standards, today we will go through the different types and features of protective eyewear. Finally, we will introduce you to EN 166:200, the European Standard for protective eyewear. 

What is the difference between specs and goggles?

Safety eyewear is divided into two main types: protective glasses (also called spectacles) and safety goggles.

Protective specs

Protective glasses – or spectacles – allow air to enter around the edges. For this reason, they protect against hazards coming from the front, such as wood chips, but provide little protection from liquids or smoke.

difference between specs and goggles

Safety googles

Safety googles, instead, seal the eyes and protect against chemicals, debris, and dust. They can be direct vented, indirect vented or non-vented.

  • Direct vented goggles present multiple perforations to reduce leg fogging and offer impact protection, but they do not provide protection against liquids or vapors.

  • Indirect vented googles use covered vents and offer a better protection against liquid and dust. However, they do not protect against vapors and fog up more often than direct vented goggles.

  • Non-vented goggles are completely sealed and offer optimal protection against liquids, dust, vapors and impact.

difference between specs and gogglesEN 166:200

After understanding the difference between specs and goggles, it is important to get familiar with the minimum requirements for protective eyewear specified by EN 166:200. To comply with EN 166:200, safety glasses and goggles must have certain characteristics: headbands must be at least 10mm wide and must be adjustable, they should be free from sharp edges that can cause discomfort and they must be made of materials that do not cause skin irritation.

EN 166 protectors must be tested against the specifications provided by EN 167 and EN 168. EN 167 requires optical tests to ensure that glasses and goggles allow sufficient light and do not distort the vision of the wearer. EN 168, instead, requires non-optical tests to assess robustness and resistance to heat, corrosion and ignition.

When buying eyewear protection, make sure they comply with the EU Standards and remember to select the most adequate type for the task and potential hazards in your workplace.

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