Text written by Salvador López, EPIs Laboratory Technician.
The eye receives light and transforms it into nerve impulses so that the brain can form an image of the environment. It is important to have good eye health and protect ourselves from mechanical, thermal and radiation risks.
An eye protector is personal protective equipment (PPE) intended for the protection of the eyes while a face shield is PPE intended for the protection of both eyes and face. To ensure good protection against the risks specific to a work environment, PPE is governed by Regulation (EU) 2016/425 and is categorised into three classes.
Eye and face shields, depending on the risk they protect against, may fall into all three categories
Category I includes sunglasses, which are intended to protect against solar radiation. The product standard that evaluates this class of PPE is ISO 12312-1, and the laboratory test standard is ISO 12311. Sunglasses are self-certifiable PPE, meaning it is not necessary to go through a notified body to obtain a certificate before sale to the public..
Category II includes products that protect against mechanical, thermal or radiation hazards. According to product standard EN 166, the different risks against which an eye and/or face shield can protect are protection against high-speed particle impacts, protection against liquid drops and splashes and protection against coarse dust particles or gases. In addition, they can offer protection against radiation in the ultraviolet, infrared or solar radiation range.
Category III includes face shields that protect against a short-circuit electric arc. The non-harmonised standard for certifying this type of protectors is GS-ET-29, where the protector is exposed to an electric arc by intentionally causing a short-circuit. The protection class against electric arc is I or II, depending on whether it protects against an electric arc with a current of 4 kA or 7 kA respectively.
AITEX is approved laboratory and notified body nº0161, by the European Commission for the evaluation and certification of category II and III personal protective equipment before it is placed on the market, as well as for the internal control of production (module C2) and for the quality assurance of the production process (module D) of category III PPE.
The AITEX technology and innovation centre has become an international benchmark in the evaluation and certification of personal eye and face protection equipment.