When is protection from impact needed for the face as well as the eyes in occupational environments?

TitleWhen is protection from impact needed for the face as well as the eyes in occupational environments?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsDain, S., R. Huang, A. Tiao, and B. Chou
JournalClinical and Experimental Optometry
Keywordsanimal, Animals, disease model, Disease Models, Eye, Eye Injuries, eye injury, eye protective device, Eye Protective Devices, face, face injury, Facial Injuries, female, Head Protective Devices, helmet, impact protection, injury scale, materials testing, occupational environment, occupational exposure, pig, procedures, standards, Swine, Trauma Severity Indices

Background: The most commonly identified reason for requiring or using occupational eye and face protection is for protection against flying objects. Standards vary on what risk may require protection of the eyes alone and what requires protection for the whole face. Information on the minimum energy transfer for face damage to occur is not well-established. Methods: The heads of pigs were used as the common model for human skin. A 6 mm steel ball projected at velocities between 45 and 135 m/s was directed at the face area. Examples of impacts were filmed with a high-speed camera and the resulting damage was rated visually on a scale from 1 (no visible damage) to 5 (penetrated the skin and embedded in the flesh). Results: The results for the cheek area indicate that 85 m/s is the velocity above which damage is more likely to occur unless the skin near the lip is included. For damage to the lip area to be avoided, the velocity needs to be 60 m/s or less. Conclusion: The present data support a maximum impact velocity of 85 m/s, provided the thinner and more vulnerable skin of the lids and orbital adnexa is protected. If the coverage area does not extend to the orbital adnexa, then the absolute upper limit for the velocity is 60 m/s. At this stage, eye-only protection, as represented by the lowest level of impact test in the standards in the form of a drop ball test, is not in question. © 2017 Optometry Australia