What is EN 166?
EN 166 specifies the minimum requirements for a range of performance tests. This standard contains a set of requirements referred to as ‘basic requirements’, which may be regarded as mandatory.
Manufacturing EN 166 compliant eyewear
- Eye protectors should be free from projections, sharp edges or other defects, which are likely to cause discomfort or injury during use.
- No parts of the eye protector which are in contact with the wearer shall be made of materials that are known to cause any skin irritation.
- Headbands must be at least 10mm wide over any portion which may come into contact with the wearer’s head. Headbands shall be adjustable or self-adjusting.
- EN166 eyewear must be tested to pass the appropriate standards. These processes are outlined by the specifications of EN167 and EN168.
EN 166 – Personal eye protection
The European standard EN 166 describes all personal eye protection requirements in general. Safety glasses in accordance with EN 166 consist of a frame and lenses, which are classified in the following standards into safety lenses and lenses with a filter effect.
Labelling in accordance with EN 166
Technical information on safety eyewear lenses are given in the following order in accordance with EN 166:
- protection class (filters only)
- manufacturer mark
- optical class (except for ancillary lenses)
- certification mark (if applicable)
- symbol for mechanical strength
- symbol for non-adherence of molten met
EN 169 – Filters for welding and related techniques
In relation to special product requirements for eye protection, the EN 169 standard defines protection levels and transmittance requirements for lens filters intended to protect employees during:
- light flame cutting
- hard soldering
- arc gouging
- plasma cutting
Labelling and protection levels for welding filters in accordance with standard EN 169
Welding filters must be permanently marked on the edge. The first number refers to the protection class of the safety eyewear. Depending on the procedure, higher electrical currents require higher protection classes in accordance with EN 169.
EN 172 – Sun glare filters for industrial use
EN 172 is a special standard for personal eye protection and describes the required physical properties of filters used to reduce sun glare in industrial use. These properties include, for example, mechanical and optical characteristics and requirements of the sun glare filters.
To use the sun glare filters in industrial use, the general requirements for personal eye protection in accordance with EN 166 must also be fulfilled. Depending on the area of use, sun glare filters in accordance with EN 172 can be used either as filters in spectacles or as individual filters.
How to choose protective eyewear
When you are looking for fit-for-purpose eye protection, look out for the CE mark and EN 166 markings. EN 166 certification will ensure that the eyewear has been tested in accordance with European standards and possesses the properties required for suitable protection.
The primary purpose of eyewear is to ensure eyes are protected against short-term and long-term injury. Hazardous substances in workplaces should be regulated to provide suitable levels of safety, but certain tasks can present further risks with the potential for significant damage.
EN 166 eyewear will provide the basic testing requirements, but for more specific tasks or increased exposure, eyewear that complies with further standards will be required.