Should My Employer Pay For My Glasses?
Most business owners recognize the importance of keeping their employees safe. They provide training, safety equipment and carry out regular checks. Fortunately, the legislation that is in place ensures that even the less conscientious employers have no choice but to take safety seriously.
But, despite this, there are still some grey areas. One of which is whether employees who wear prescription glasses such as these should be provided with additional eye protection by their employer.
Naturally, we would like to respond with a simple yes or no answer. Unfortunately, we can’t do that. There are too many factors in play, so the real answer to that question is – it depends
But, what we can do is to provide you with the information you need to be able to work out what the answer is in your particular situation.
Is the wearing of specialist eyewear essential to your role?
You first need to work out if specialist glasses are necessary.
Usually, the best source of information for this is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
This organization assesses each working environment and decides what needs to be done to keep everyone safe. They regularly review and update their standards. So, OSHA is the best source of information. Although, many trade bodies also maintain this type of information for their sector.
Identify what type of specialist eyewear is needed
OSHA can also provide guidance on what type of specialist eyewear is needed. In many cases, it will be a pair of safety goggles that can be worn over the top of a regular pair of glasses. Or, worn with contact lenses. These are usually used for tasks where there is a danger of liquids or particles getting into a person’s eyes.
This kind of personal protective equipment is not expensive. So, it is a cost that most businesses can easily absorb.
Who has to pay for prescription goggles or safety glasses?
However, sometimes, prescription safety glasses or goggles are the only practical solutions. Counter-intuitively, even in that situation, there is a good chance that your employer will still not be obliged to pay for them.
In general, if the prescription safety glasses will be worn outside the workplace, your employer will not pay. Whereas, with something like a prescription respirator facemask screen, the chances are they will do so. You can get a better understanding of why that is by clicking here.
However, in some cases, even if the company you work for is not legally obliged to pay for your prescription eyewear, they may still do so. This is to protect themselves from potential litigation. If there was an accident there is an outside chance you could sue them for not providing you with the correct equipment.
It is a grey area, but, one that you could leverage. However, you need to be careful about doing so. It is best to take advice from your local safety rep.
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