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It is common to see in large factories (where hundreds of workers are employed) that only one model of safety glasses, one model (and one size only) of respirator and one model of safety shoe was issued to everyone working in the factory.

It could be very good to see everyone is uniformly using only one type. The ESH (Environment, Safety & Health) Officers or Managers feel that when the employees are not given choices, there will be less noise (such as asking for model they preferred or complaints). It is easier for inventory control too.

However, is it a good practice as far as safety is concerned?

Let us take safety eyewear for eye protection as an example. Safety eyewear including goggles and glasses must be fitted well for the protection required. A loosely fitted pairs of glasses will drop and rest on the cheek exposing eyes to the danger of impact or splash. They might cause discomfort or vision distortion thus becoming a safety or health hazard.

Modern safety glasses come with different shapes and sizes.  The classical models are made of two lenses with metal or plastic frame. Most of the contemporary models are made of one piece polycarbonate lens. The nose gap can be wider or narrower.  The nose pad can be hard plastic or soft rubber.  The side shield can be a detachable piece or molded to the lens.  The temple arms can be fixed or adjustable in length and angle. The lenses colors can be clear, grey, amber or green with various shades.  The rich varieties give us plenty of choices to select one that fits best to our faces in term of comfort and styles beside the protection we need.

A pairs of glasses fitted well to a person with high nose bridge may not be fitted well to a person with low nose bridge or flat nose.  They must be given a choice to choose one best fitted to their faces. Moreover, there should be some one who is authorized to issue and fit the glasses for them.  Safety goggles need to be fit-tested too before issuing them to the users. A loose pair of goggles with gap at the forehead area will not give protection to the eyes when there is a splash to the face.  Choose one that fit best to the face.

Same thing commonly happened to safety shoes.  Most factories do not have a written foot protection program.  Normally, only one brand, one model will be selected for all the workers. To them wearing safety shoes is all they need to protect their feet. On the other hand, I believe, there are something else they need to do to protect they feet to increase productivity and to reduce cost in long run. If you have a few hundreds worker and each giving a pair of safety shoes free, you should consider seriously to write and run you own foot protection program.

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