How to choose the right safety goggles?

different safety goggles

In fact, safety goggles are only one type of safety eyewear and they come in different styles and sizes. There is such a variety of safety goggles available, it can be tough to decide which ones are right for you. 

Work-related eye injuries remain an important problem in the Australian workforce. Many of eye injuries occurred when the person was not wearing appropriate eye protection. 

It is important to choose the right eye protection for the workers and train how to properly wear the eye protection. 

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Considerations when selecting safety goggles and safety eyewear in general

After the AS/NZS 1336:2014 the factors in the graph below should be considered when choosing your safety eyewear:

Australian standard safety goggles

AS/NZS 1337.1:2010 specifies minimum requirements for non-prescription eye and face protectors and associated oculars.

visual requirement of the task

Wearer should be able to see in all directions of eye rotation without major obstruction to the field of view.

wearers face

Different styles should be offered to determine a best fit option for the wearer

working condition

Condition under the employee is working.

workers eyesight

Most goggles are sized to allow prescription eyewear to be worn with them

workers preference

Comfort, appearance, lightness, ventilation are important considerations.

Flying objects, chemicals, and dust are among the most common workplace eye hazards.

safety goggles frame

Impact rating for eye protection

Eye protection impact ratings are determined by the PPE’s ability to withstand an impact from a specified weight ball without cracking, detaching or dislodging, breaking or coming into contact with the eye or the head. For example, “High Impact” can withstand an impact from an object moving up to 120 metres per second.

Under the AS/NZS 1337.1.2010 the maximum rating safety goggles can achieve is medium impact (45 M/S), as they do not cover the entire face. The below table specifies the requirements for each rating. 

low impact 13 m/smedium impact 45 m/s high impact 120m/s extra high impact 190 m/s
wide vision spectacle
eye shield
face shield


Choosing the right level of eye protection – Examples of specific hazards

The type of safety eye protection you should wear depends on the hazards in your workplace. Always choose eye protection that complies with AS/NZS standards.

HazardWork exampleSuitable eye protectors
Low energy flying fragments and objects (low impact 12 M/S)Riveting, chipping, spalling, hammering and handling wire and brick cuttingwide Vision Spectacle, Goggle, Eye shield Face shield (marked with S , I or F)
Medium energy flying particlesScaling, grinding and machining metals, some woodworking tasks, stone dressing, Horticulture and gardeningwide Vision Spectacle, Goggle, Eye shield Face shield (marked with an I or F)
Airborne dustRoad work, sanding, handling coalDust resistant goggles (marked with D or 4)
Liquid splashes, harmful liquids and corrosivesWorking with hot bitumen, metal cleaning, plating, handling corrosivesSplash resistant goggles (marked with C or 3)
Gases, vapoursHarmful chemicals, spray painting, using aerosol Gas tight goggle (marked with the Letter G or 5)
Splashing metalsMetal casting, molten slag, hot solids, galvanising baths, lead joiningMolten metal resistant goggles (marked with M or 9)
Non-ionizing radiation Welding, cutting, furnace work, forging, gas weldingWelding goggles complying with AS/NZS 1338.1

Ventilation options for safety goggles

One of the factors taken in consideration when choosing your safety goggles is the type of ventilation. Regarding ventilation, safety goggles can be directly ventilated, indirectly ventilated or non-ventilated.

1. Direct ventilation

Direct ventilation safety goggles allow the flow of air into the goggle through vent openings that are designed to block objects greater than 1.5 mm. The ventilation holes are generally placed around the top and/or sides of the goggles.

This goggle type is suitable for use where the primary hazard is impact only, and the risks from vapours or chemical splashes are non-existent.



2. Indirect ventilation

Indirect ventilation safety goggles provide splash and dust protection by using a covered vent that precludes the presence of a straight-line passage between the exterior and interior of the goggles, whilst allowing an indirect flow of air helping to maintain a comfortable climate zone around the eyes.

3. Top and bottom vents reduced

Top and bottom vents reduced goggles provide splash and dust protection, also assists in resisting smoke penetration into the goggle whilst allowing humid air to escape and remain fog free.

4. Indirect top vents closed

Indirect Top vents closed goggles provide splash and dust resistance providing added protection from chemical splash and dust from falling down into the eyes from above, whilst allowing an indirect flow of air from below to help maintain a comfortable climate zone around the eyes in humid environments.

5. Non-vented goggles

Non-vented goggles do not have any vents and therefore can provide protection against dust, mists, liquids, vapours, including chemical splash. Due to the lack of vents, these goggles tend to fog up quickly: an anti-fog coating is necessary.

Lining options for safety goggles

There are three options when it comes to the safety goggle linings -open cell foam, closed cell foam and non foam.

1. Open Cell Foam

Durable, versatile & flexible, an open cell foam liner can provide a higher degree of wearer comfort particularly in environments where long term use is required.

safety goggle open cell foam

2. Closed Cell Foam

Closed-Cell foam is typically more durable, versatile and flexible and allows little moisture absorption. They are also stronger than open-cell foam.

safety goggle closed cell foam

3. Non foam liner

Safety goggles without any foam provide an uninterrupted seal which adapts better to the face than foam and is the most hygienic option.

safety goggle no foam

The lens materials used in the manufacture of safety goggles can also vary with cellulose acetate (CA) used primarily for splash and impact protection, and moulded Polycarbonate (PC) for applications where higher impact resistance is required being the most used materials.

Coating options for safety goggles

Safety goggles in Australia are often used in harsh working environments, so the lenses are usually coated to increase their efficacy and longevity. This coating is more important than you might think and is a key factor in ensuring the eyewear is worn, ensuring the protection of the wearer. For maximum effectiveness, lens coatings should offer resistance against fogging and scratching.

Anti-scratch coatings on both sides of the lens are ideal for us in dirty, dusty and abrasive environments and environments with light oils and grease. Safety goggles with anti-fog coating on both sides of the lens should be used in work environments with constant movement between areas of different temperature and humidity. Perfect for strenuous activities in dusty abrasive environments are coated lenses with anti-fog on the inside and scratch resistant on the outside.

uvex goggles with an acetate lens are anti fog on both sides. uvex offers the following coating options on our Polycarbonate lenses:


Cleaning and maintaining safety goggles

Safety googles should be checked before each use and if there is any visible damage observed it must not be used. When a damaged safety goggle is identified it must either be repaired or disposed of as per manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Dirty lenses should never be cleaned when they are dry
  • Dirty lenses can be cleaned using running water or uvex cleaning fluid
  • Lenses should then be carefully dried with uvex tissue paper or a soft, lint free cleaning cloth (applying only light pressure)
  • When drying never use paper towels as this may scratch the lens
  • Scratched or damaged lenses should be replaced immediately
  • When not in use the goggles should be stored in a clean environment

Fitting and wearing safety goggles

Step 1

Place the goggle on the face with one hand

Step 2

Whilst holding in place bring the head band over and to the back of the head with the other hand. (Not on the helmet

Step 3

Adjust the band to head size

Step 4

Check the seal

  • If wearing prescription glasses check that the side arms do not break the seal
  • Check for gaps by running your index fingers around the seal (particularly around the nose are)

Step 1 Removing Safety Goggles

Lean slightly forward facing down and pull head band over the top of the head

Step 2 Removing Safety Goggles

Pull goggle down from the face (take care, this is when most injuries occur)


Q: Can I wear my goggles with my prescription eyewear?

A: Most goggles are sized to allow prescription eyewear to be worn with them. Some models offer RX insert, which fit to the inside of the goggle and allows the wearer to insert prescription lenses.

uvex safety goggle solutions