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A clear view

19 October 2022

Safety eyewear needs to be worn in order for it to protect the wearer, but if there is mist on the lens then the glasses are often removed – providing a genuine danger. Coralie Mortimer looks at the solution to this problem.

EACH YEAR many eye injuries occur in the workplace, sometimes leading to long-term sight damage. Even the more minor incidents can result in workers being absent for periods of time, subsequently impacting on the business as a whole. A high percentage of these injuries could be avoided by wearing protective eyewear.

It’s so important to have the correct eye protection for the working environment. It must be effective, comfortable and above all, wearable – it won’t work if you’re not wearing it!

Mist on the lens is often a reason for glasses not being worn or for them being removed briefly for cleaning. At best it’s an annoyance and at worst it’s a genuine danger, definitely a hazard that requires correct management.

Nemesis of spectacle wearers

The formation of mist on an optical lens is a scientific phenomenon that cannot be avoided. The vision blurring effect of that translucent film renders clear sight impossible. In the workplace it significantly hinders operations and can cause real danger.

Heavy industry like engineering, steel foundries and many forms of manufacturing involve a great deal of intense heat in their processes. Water is used as a coolant and the two work together to form mist in the atmosphere. It is completely unavoidable and generally accepted as the norm these places.

Mist is also an issue at the other end of the scale when cold air is present. Cold air meeting a slightly warmer surface such as the lens of your glasses will cause them to mist up. Industries that encounter cooler temperatures such as warehousing, especially cold storage and outdoor workers, particularly in the winter will all understand the problems caused by a misted lens. The transport and logistics sector, most areas of agriculture and even outdoor sport or leisure will also recognise these challenges.

It’s easy to see how mist can be present in working environments, caused by different activities and conditions. It may even result from something mundane such as wearing a face mask or consuming a hot drink. Either way, impaired vision is to be taken very seriously. Mist can really be the absolute nemesis of a spectacle wearer!

Hazard prevention

Whether you’re wearing protective eyewear due to high-risk surroundings or just spectacles to correct your vision, both will be negatively affected by the formation of mist over the lens.

So what should you do? The quick and obvious solution is to remove your glasses and clean them. However, it’s not a permanent fix because the mist will simply come back. Also, if you’re wearing protective eyewear, removing the glasses will leave you unprotected and at risk. Every time you stop what you’re doing to clear the lenses, you break your flow, slowing your pace and delaying the completion of your task. Plus, constant cleaning and wiping of the lens may cause damage due to excessive abrasion.

The best way to avoid the situation entirely is to have an anti-mist coating on your glasses. The technology has been available for some time. It was originally invented by NASA in the mid to late 1960s and was a break-through discovery that helped astronauts see clearly in one of their famous space missions. It works by minimising surface tension to cause dispersion of the tiny mist droplets or particles. The technology was applied to a space suit visor during one of the space walks and was found to successfully maintain a clear field of vision across the visor.

Since then, the technology has been developed and applied to many forms of eyewear and other equipment with lenses such as cameras, telescopes, binoculars and even mirrors.

Eco-Friendly Anti-Mist Solution

MCR Safety has been an innovator in the design and manufacture of protective eyewear for over 60 years. They develop frames and lens technologies to achieve maximum performance and safety for wearers. They provide both prescription and non-prescription glasses for PPE use across a wide spectrum industry.

With this level of experience and expertise it is possible to develop new coatings to help overcome different environmental factors and industrial conditions.

Recently they have introduced an advanced Ultraviolet Light Cured coating know as UV-Curved or UVC for short. It’s the latest technology designed to combat the age-old problem of lens misting. It’s the first of its kind and completely unique to MCR Safety. It offers greatly enhanced performance when compared to the traditional oven baked curing process and above all it has huge environmental benefits.

After prolonged periods of monitoring, it was established that production of the new UVC coating actually reduces energy consumption by a significant amount. Kilowatt energy usage at the manufacturing plant has been reduced consistently by around fifty-four per-cent each month. Tests were carried out to eliminate other factors and it could be reliably verified that the new UV Curing process was the sole reason for the reduction. This is because the end result is achieved using far less power than the traditional methods previously in place.

In these times of extreme weather conditions, freak storms and rising sea levels, climate change is front and centre on the world stage. Its one of the hottest topics for discussion and debate among world leaders, scientists and activists around the globe. Any process that can use less power has got to be championed!

The environmental benefits of reduced energy usage alone are massive, using less power and therefore less of the earths valuable resources is a fantastic achievement. Yet there’s more, the UVC Coating process can claim another great environmental benefit because it also reduces CO2 emissions.

Carefully quantified data shows that the manufacturer managed to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 10,824kg per month. This was achieved because the new process uses far fewer chemicals that traditional methods and therefore is far less damaging to the atmosphere.

In addition to these two great eco-friendly benefits, further steps have been taken towards sustainability by minimising packaging for products using the new coating and switching from plastics to recycled or recyclable paper solutions.

MCR Safety plans to make the transition to UVC coating across their entire range hence further reducing their own carbon footprint and maintaining their current carbon-neutral status. They are using a green leaf symbol to denote where the coating is in use. This way their customers can easily identify and choose these products over any less eco-friendly options that may be available on the market.

Mist free

Spectacles treated with this new UVC coating are eco-friendly, any business or individual concerned with ecological issues should naturally be drawn to this product over a traditional oven-baked anti-mist coating. That alone is reason enough for UVC to become a favourite across all the industrial sectors. However, the main driving factor is likely to be its outstanding performance.

Advanced Ultraviolet Light Cured Coating outperforms regular oven-baked anti-mist coating by up to three times. Standard thermal cured anti-mist lenses can endure two to three sets of 80˚ hot water steam tests. UVC coating can maintain a mist-free state for up to three times longer.

Caring for the planet

Everyone has a vested interested in looking after the environment, protecting natural resources and reducing emissions. No one can fail to notice that it’s one of the most important issues facing the global population in the twenty first century. Most businesses are trying to do their bit by reducing their own carbon footprint and working towards sustainability. Every commodity entering into an organisation is being scrutinised for its eco credentials. Protective eyewear must undergo the same examination process and that’s why this new UVC coating is becoming a popular choice when making that switch. All this plus its excellent performance makes UCV Coating the sensible choice for eco-friendly industrial eye protection.

For more information, visit www.mcrsafetyeurope.com