Prescription safety glasses – guidance

Questions about the provision of prescription safety glasses are amongst the ones most frequently asked of ECIA by its member companies. We have produced detailed guidance which is available to them. It is contained in the document library in the health and safety section of this website. Click here to access the document library and look for ‘Providing Prescription Safety Glasses on Engineering Construction Sites’ (you will need your member password to open the library and select the document).
The guidance goes into more detail, but the key points are as follows.

  • ECIA considers that prescription safety glasses are required under the PPE regulations
  • Safety glasses must be ‘suitable’ but this does not require any consideration of users’ style preferences
  • Employers are entitled to specify which glasses, for what price, from which supplier
  • Overglasses are acceptable, but only as a temporary interim measure for the shorter term
  • If an employee needs prescription safety glasses at work, the employer must pay for them
  • It is illegal for employers to charge employees for anything they have to provide under H&S law
  • £30 - £50 is a reasonable price to expect to pay for prescription safety glasses
  • Employers may offer grants  to employees or re-imbursement on proof of purchase, but the latter provides greater assurance that glasses have actually been procured
  • Employees can reasonably be required to bring their own prescription safety glasses to work if they have them, and in practice most or many should be able to do so
  • Employees have a duty to take reasonable care of any eye protection the employer provides to them
  • The issue may well feature in project SPA discussions, but there is no requirement in the NAECI itself concerning provision of prescription safety glasses.



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