The goal has always been to keep employees safe on the job. Effective safety eyewear is arguably one of the most important pieces of PPE, and now with the new standard for safety eyewear, workers can do their job effectively without fear of eye injury. With specifications about materials, design, performance, and marking requirements, EN ISO 16321:2022 Safety Eyewear Standard ensures employers that they are sending their workers into the workday with exceptional eye protection. 

Earlier this year, new EN ISO 16321:2022 Safety Eyewear Standards were harmonised, introducing a comprehensive international standard to replace the previous national and regional standards. This new regulation (EN ISO 16321:2022) replaces several older standards with the intention of keeping the wearer safer than ever before. The main European standard (EN 166:2001), however, is still harmonized until November 2024, and is still widely used for CE/UKCA protective eyewear markings. 

The new series applies to non-prescription and prescription safety glasses for occupational use and use in educational environments. It now excludes electrical face protectors, laser protectors, sports eyewear, medical eye shields, protectors intended for protection against solar radiation only, or eye protectors for ionising radiation. Separate standards are in place for these devices. The 2022 Protective Eyewear Suite of Standards has recently been harmonised, with the expectation that it will be designated within PPE regulations to allow for certification processes within the UK.  

It’s important to note that, while no new safety eyewear can be produced to the old standard beyond this date, the 2001 standards will remain valid for existing safety eyewear until their designated expiry date, which should be within 5 years. Therefore, for some time, we will see both new and old standards used to certify products on the market – to ensure that the protective eyewear you’re using meets the requirements necessary for the work being carried out, you should check the relevant Safety Eyewear Standard.