As azmanam pointed out, Chemjobber’s post about Lab Essentials made it onto the most recent issue of Nature Chemistry–hooray! Well, kind of. One of my comments about comfy eyewears somehow got a mention as well. Now, I didn’t imagine my debut in the Nature publications quite this way. But if I have to be known as the Asian girl with the flat nose, I might as well use this chance to elaborate on the cause that is dear to my heart.
I’ve worn glasses for as long as I could remembered, but my journey to finding a pair to wear in lab has been a rocky one. I must not be alone in this: it’s so hard to find a pair of safety glasses that fits well! My problems are:
- The plastic part that is supposed to sit on the bridge of my nose isn’t really long enough to touch it; instead, the goggles sit suspended above my face. I have a flat nose; I’ve learned there are more important things in life to be upset about.
- Since the goggles can’t sit on my nose, the bottom edge of the lenses digs into my cheeks for support. I get the most awful imprint on my face and it starts to hurt after a couple hours
- Because they are ill-fitted, they fall off all the time when I’m in the middle of doing something
Do I get your attention now, PPE manufacturer? (hint)
When I first started taking chemistry as an undergrad, I was told to fish out a pair of safety goggles from the big box my TA provided. Over the next few years, I had tried on my fair share of safety goggles. Some of them were rocking the retro vibe like this, some others were the more simple style like this, and the others were the nice adjustable length like the one shown above.
The variety was nice. But I never liked any of them. I hated wearing safety goggles/glasses because none of them actually fits me. I don’t know how long it would take PPE companies to figure out that chemistry students with flat nose everywhere (including, but not exclusively, the Asian kids) are resenting wearing goggles!
I think we can agree that safety goggles are among the most important part of personal protection equipments. It’s a must for novice and experienced chemists alike. I would think that fit and comfort are significant factors in designing these because of their proximity to your face. As an undergrad, I didn’t have much of a choice of the types of goggles I could wear, so I just went with whatever that was provided to me. Let me assure you the fun of my chemistry experience was greatly diminished because of the discomfort of wearing one of these.
We’ve always had problems with freshmen (even older students) not wearing their goggles in teaching lab. Aside from laziness and carelessness, I think a big factor of it is comfort. We can promote better safety habit simply by showing students that in the same way we select glove sizes that fit us, it is possible and important to do the same for safety goggles.
And really, we have nitiles gloves in 5 sizes and like 20 different colors; I think it’s possible to add supportive nosepiece to safety goggles.
Note: I currently use a pair of AOS goggles with rubber nosepiece that I am reasonably happy with. It still falls my cheeks sometimes (as the rubber nosepiece is still quite shallow) but is a significant improvement from previous experience.
Note #2: Nature Chemistry–if you need guest writers, you know where to find me.