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Safety specs

U2.5.2 Safety specs (2014)

The question this month concerns repairing safety spectacles. This member asked if she might repair existing safety spectacles in her practice, as the patient worked abroad and was flying back the next day.

We all know the rules – don’t do anything to a safety spec! The rationale behind this is simple: whatever you do, you may well interfere with an appliance, which has been manufactured to certain standards and thus invalidate the warranty the manufacturer issued with the spectacles.

This, of course, applies to the patient as well in that they may not do anything to the specs (removing the side shields is the favourite one). So if you, or a member of your staff, replace a missing screw or refits the lens that fell out, you could well invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty should an accident occur and a claim be made against the safety spectacle manufacturer.

Another question that is frequently asked is: “Do safety spectacles have to be dispensed by a registered optician?” The answer is “No”. Anyone can dispense such spectacles as long as the patient is over 16 and not registered as sight impaired.

Back to the original query…I thought that the most sensible and professional action would be to repair the safety specs, in house. My thinking was that the patient would be best served by having a functioning pair of safety specs. Circumstances were such that the usual action of returning the appliance to the manufacturer was not an option but there was a real danger that without the appliance, the patient’s eyes could be damaged. The patient should be informed of the choice open to them – repaired safety specs without a manufacturer’s warranty or no safety spectacles at all.

If the worst happened and the appliance failed to protect the patient’s eyes, the member could be in danger of being sued, since the manufacturer would say that their terms and conditions had been breached. Personally, and it is for everyone to decide for themselves, I would take my chance in court. Your records would show what was done and why, and that everything possible was done to keep the patient safe in the given circumstances. And that is what good professional conduct is all about.

#Safety specs #repairs