Face shields protect the face from debris, particles, and liquid splash. They can keep us safe from the unseen (to the naked eye) when we would least expect it. With the applications of face shields on the rise, it can help to know the different types.
Types of Face Shields
The three most common styles of face shields are as follows; PETG, Polycarbonate, and Steel Wire Mesh.
First, we have those made from PETG. It is a modified version of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET); often used for water bottles. PETG has good impact resistance but it has a softer surface which makes it prone to wear. Ideal applications include general grinding, light dust, debris, and liquid splash applications.
A lightweight kit, the Pyramex S1000 is a low cost option. it comes with 1 headgear and 5 face shields. It’s comfortable and functional over the top of face protection.
Next on the list, is Polycarbonate (PC) which is a group of thermoplastics polymers. It tends to have a higher strength material than the previous PETG. Because of its durability, it’s intended for tougher engineering applications and environments. It also out performs PETG in a wider range of temperatures. Applications include grinding, brazing, cutting and high impact applications.
Another aspect of Polycarbonate is that it can have molded versions. Molded Polycarbonate can provide better optics and better peripheral vision. It has an aspherical design can allow for more comfortable movement.
An example is the Bouton Uncoated Polycarbonate Safety Visor (headgear sold separately). It’s molded design and clear lens provides optical clarity. And then, the aspherical shape gives the user an improved range of motion for the head and neck.
Steel Wire Mesh
And last but not least, we have Steel Wire Mesh face shields. These types of shields are many times used in forestry, lumber, and landscaping. Potential hazards that it can protect against are wood chips and large particles. It provides scratch proof quality and at the same time, excellent vision. Unlike the other two shields, Steel Wire Mesh never has to worry about the potential of fog.
The ERB 4000 Steel Mesh Face Screen can provide protection from debris. It the meets ANSI-S 1992 requirements with its epoxy coated steel mesh screen.
Headgear and Brackets
For the majority of shields they will often need either headgear or a bracket (sometimes referred to as an adapter). Headgear is a device that holds the face shield in place, like a hat. A user can wear headgear if a hard hat is not needed. But in the event that it’s required to wear a hard hat, then it will need a bracket. A bracket is an adapter that attaches to hard hat; allowing the user to wear a shield.
Verdict: Face Shields are Important!
In conclusion, face shields do just that – shield your face! They protect and prevent any injury from debris, particles, or liquid splash. Depending on the protection needed the type of visor matters. With those types again being PETG, Polycarbonate, or Steel Wire mesh. Trusted brands include Bouton, Bullard, ERB Safety, MCR Safety, MSA, Pyramex, and Radians. Most styles meet ANSI Z87.1 safety requirements and are impact rated. Head and face protection is important – only you can take steps to prevent accidents with PPE. When in doubt face shield out!