The Safety Glasses Guide- What You Need To Know

Workers in a huge variety of occupations and environments need good quality eye protection that they can rely on to keep their eyes safe.  To help those workers get the correct safety glasses and goggles for the job they are doing the EN Specification system provides all the information needed.

Dickies are immensely proud of the quality of the eye protection and safety glasses available, and want to assist you in making the right choice. Details of the eye protection regulations are detailed below.

dickies SA8200 safety goggles

The SA8200 is rated as EN166:2001 3 4 9 BT 


The Safety Codes

All eye protection should have safety codes embedded or etched onto the lens and frame and should, at the very least, meet BS EN166 standards.

BS EN codes are a straight forward and useful way to ensure you have exactly what you need in the working environment. Here’s what you need to know about these codes and protective eyewear standards.

Frame Markings

dickies frame specification graphic 1

This is an example of a frame marking. It starts with the manufacturer's name, the EN spec then the frame strength and style.

The frame code will include three elements that will vary on order depending on the manufacturer but never on meaning: the manufacturer’s name, strength designation and style designation are the three elements. Essential to spot is the BS EN 166 compliance which will be situated next to the name of the manufacturer: “Dickies 166” as an example.  

Strength Designation:

  • S – 12 meters per second small object impact rating.
  • F – 45 meters per second small object impact rating.
  • B – 120 meters per second small object impact rating.
  • A – 190 meters per second small object impact rating.
  • T – Can be used in extreme temperatures.

Style and Protection of Frame Codes:

  • 3 – Liquid splash protection (usually sealed goggles).
  • 4 – Dust protection over 5 microns.
  • 5 – Dust protection under 5 micros.
  • 9 – Resistant to penetration of hot solids.

As an example, if you spot Dickies 166-F T 4 on a frame, then you can be sure that it complies to BS EN 166 regulations, can withstand impact of 45mps, retain that safety under extreme temperatures and protect against dust particles over 5 microns in size. 

dickies frame specification graphic 2

As with the Frame code the Lens code is broken down into parts. Radiation protection, Light transmission, Optical quality and Lens properties.[/caption]

Lens Markings

The indicators of eye protection afforded by the lens are found in the four elements etched on the lens, without including the fifth element – the manufacturer. The order of this code presented usually follows Radiation Protection, Light Transmission, Optical Quality, and Lens Properties.  

Radiation Protection:

  • 2 – UV protection (EN170) coloured filter.
  • 2C or 3 – UV protection (EN170) with a clear filter.
  • 4 – IR filters (EN171).
  • 5 – Sun glare protection (EN172)
  • 6 – Sun glare with IR filter (EN172 + EN171)

Light Transmission:

  • 1.2 – Allows between 74.4% and 100% of light to pass.
  • 1.7 – Allows between 43.2% and 58.1% of light to pass.
  • 2.5 – Allows between 17.8% and 29.1% of light to pass.
  • 3.1 – Allows between 8% and 17.8% of light to pass.

Optical Quality:

  • 1 – Class 1 – High quality for regular use.
  • 2 – Class 2 – Medium quality for occasional use.
  • 3 – Class 3 – Low quality for exceptional use.

Lens Properties:

  • F – Protect against small object impacts of 45 meters per second.
  • B – Protect against small object impacts of 120 meters per second.
  • A – Protect against small object impacts of 190 meters per second.
  • T – Withstands extreme temperatures.
  • N – Anti-fog
  • K – Resistant to damage from fine particles.
  • 9 – Resistance to penetration of hot solids.

In an example, as above, it would be simple to decipher the lens’ various aspects with knowledge of the code; the etching can usually be found in the bottom left-hand corner of the eye protection glasses. So this example designates a UV protection factor (EN170) with a clear filter, allowing 74.4% to 100% of light to pass, with high optical qualities suitable for regular use. The properties this lens possesses are deflection of small object impact at 45 metres per second, anti-fog and fine particle damage resistance.