Face shields are safety devices designed to protect the face from debris or other hazards. Face guards and face shields must provide protection from hazards but also ensure that an operator’s visibility and mobility is not hindered. Face shields are commonly used in metalworking and utilities applications, and for operators working on welding, grinding, or cutting machinery.
Face shields typically cover the entire face and are secured over or around the head with an adjustable band. A face shield is frequently used in medical applications to protect the face and eyes from the splattering or splashing of biohazardous fluids. A full face guard covers the entire face while a mid-face guard covers only the eyes and nose. Both provide peripheral protection by wrapping around the sides of the face. Face shields may be tinted or metal coated for heat protection. A face guard should be used as additional protection; safety glasses or goggles should always be worn in conjunction.
Some types of face shields and shields provide head protection as well, by coupling the plastic face shield with a hard plastic top to protect the head. A head guard or hard hat is commonly used on construction sites and in industrial applications where moving or falling objects may pose a danger to workers. Head guards are often rated for electrical insulation to reduce risk of electrocution.
Face shields for special applications include tactical equipment used by police officers in riot situations. A ballistic face shield is composed of heavy duty thermoplastic resin or polycarbonate materials and provides protection from bullets of various calibers. Ballistic face shields come in several different protection levels depending on the materials used to construct them. Other specialty face guards are often used in welding applications. A welder’s face shield protects the operator from the intense heat, optical radiation, and sparks from arc-welding equipment. Welding helmets and welding face shields are constructed of specially-treated, auto-darkening or tinted glass.