Protecting your eyesight should be a high priority. Your primary means of defense is to always wear eye protection any time you're on the job and not in an officially designated break area.
Don't allow fallacious logic to guide your thinking on this. For example, whether you are on the clock or not has nothing to do with the level of eye hazard in an area.
It's not about whether you “have to” wear eye protection. It's about protecting your eyesight.
Here's a short list of some tips to keep in mind:
- Sunglasses aren't safety glasses, but safety glasses with UV protection can double as sunglasses.
- If you wear prescription glasses, make sure they meet ANSI and OSHA standards for safety glasses — and wear side shields. Glasses without side shields won't protect your eyes from operations that produce flying particles. Drilling and grinding are two such operations.
- Use higher levels of protection as needed. For example, wear goggles for splash protection.