Innovation: ProBlocker Ninja Protects Painters’ Eyes
Painters need to wear eye protection, yet rarely do. That’s because safety glasses and other gear protect their eyes from overspray, but the paint soon covers the glass and blocks their sight. Repeatedly cleaning the glasses takes a lot of time.
“Painters cover themselves from head to toe. They wear gloves, long pants, long-sleeve shirts, they wear respirators. But the one place they don’t cover is their eyes,” says Kendell Kikuyama, who has more than 45 years of experience in the painting industry. “They’ve tried just about everything on the market and most choose to use nothing at all.”
About four years ago, Kikuyama started working on a pair of goggles he had thought about for years. This summer he unveiled the patent-pending ProBlocker Ninja, spray goggles that guard the eyes while allowing the painter to see through small slits that don’t allow paint inside.
The goggles consist of a sleek plastic frame with an open viewing slit in the center of each lens. By sealing the air space around the eyes, the goggles create a pocket of dead air that acts as a barrier to block paint particles from entering. Paint lands on the rest of the goggles and elsewhere, but doesn’t block the slits, so painters can see even in the midst of overspray.
At press time, the product was about to hit shelves in Sherwin-Williams stores around the island. Price is $19.95 for a package of three. Already, a few painting companies have started using them.
Jeremy Duarte, field superintendent with M Shiroma Painting in Kapolei, says his painters hardly ever wear eye protection because there hasn’t been anything on the market that’s efficient and reliable. He picked up 10 pairs for his painters to try.
“These work a lot better than the other stuff out there,” Duarte says. “It’s definitely something we’d buy.”