Many industrial settings incur severe financial losses due to fog. In oil and gas fields or off-shore platforms, as well as mining operations, production shortfall due to downtime alone can reach hundreds of thousands of dollar per day. Agricultural facilities, construction sites and even factories or warehouses become extremely dangerous workplaces when foggy too. The reduced visibility in some cases can prevent work altogether, such delays lead to severe losses for the business and for contract workers that are common in these settings.
The formation of fog is not just a weather condition. The same humidity and temperature differences that create clouds of fog also fog-up surfaces such as safety glasses and goggles. When glasses fog-up it can reduce the visibility of the wearer, essentially blinding them until the condensation can be removed. In many situations, this fogging-up can occur at crucial moments and result in disaster for the wearer or those around them.
Just like clouds of fog that form in humid conditions because of the temperature difference between the air and a surface; eye-glasses fog-up due to temperature differences between the lens and surrounding air. This can happen when you move from a cold environment to a warmer one or the other way around. This is particularly common in oil and gas, power, warehousing and other industries where workers regularly move from indoor to outdoor environments or vice versa.
A number of factors can increase the chances of this fogging effect. Dirty and damaged lenses, for example, create more surface area upon which condensation can form. This dirt increases the fogging effect and is particularly pronounced in older glasses and goggles. In order to reduce accidents at work, businesses must ensure that their employees are equipped with new and undamaged eyewear but also that lenses are cleaned frequently.
High humidity environments, both indoor and outdoor, are likely to result in foggy lenses regardless of temperature differences. However, longer exposure to cold temperatures can cause lenses to chill completely. Meaning any warmth will result in prolonged fogging despite wiping and other efforts. Warm factories and plants in cold environments are the perfect examples, as workers move from outdoors into the warmth they are at high risk of fogging-up.
Wearing foggy eyewear reduces their visibility preventing them from working productively and increasing the risk of accidents. Many of those workers chose to remove their protective eyewear in order to see better, which in turn puts their eyes at risk from other dangers such as light, heat and airborne particles.
90% of all workplace eye injuries can be avoided by using proper safety eyewear, according to the Prevent Blindness Organisation, but foggy eyewear creates another set of safety risks. Nearly 60% of workers sustaining eye injuries were not wearing eye protection at the time, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. This may be linked to the goggles fogging up, insufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) training or other reasons.
Preventing Lens Fogging
Whatever type of glasses or goggles you use, there are a variety of methods you can use to reduce or prevent the lenses fogging up. The most basic measure is to keep glasses clean, you should also ensure that glasses are not old or damaged. The fit and position of glasses in relation to the face are also important. Ensure there is enough space between your face and the lenses to allow air to flow in order to better equalize the temperature on each side. Similarly, preventing overheating of the face, by dressing appropriately and diverting exhaled air away from the glasses, can reduce the temperature difference and resulting condensation.
Where fogging up can cause serious hazards, such as workplaces that operate heavy machinery, it is essential to not only have anti-fog but also anti-scratch protection on lenses. Anti-fog coating incorporates hydrophilic materials that absorb moisture and hydrophobic techniques that divert excess moisture to the sides of the lens.
Most protective eyewear on the market only protects the inside of the lens against fogging and the outside against scratching but this does not account for all the types of fogging up that can occur.
Other technology like the PLATINUM® Coating by Bollé Safety offer more comprehensive protection from fogging up by applying a scratch-and-fog-resistant coating on both the inside and outside of the lens. Bollé Safety are also the first company in the world to supply all their prescription lenses with PLATINUM® anti-scratch and anti-fog coating as standard and at no extra charge. PLATINUM® is available on all the range of RUSH+ and RUSH+ SMALL.
Disclaimer: The information provided through Greenham Pulse is for general guidance only and is not legal advice. Greenham Pulse is not a substitute for Health and Safety consultancy. You should seek independent advice about any legal matter.