Safety glasses or goggles are a requirement in many laboratory environments because they yield a level of protection for the user. It is better to err on the side of precaution than to be avoidably hurt.
There are a number of laboratory environments that require goggles. Situations in which chemicals can splash or boil are much less dangerous when safety goggles are used. Soldering, metal working and wood working are also examples of environments where a user or an observer could potentially be hit in the face with dangerous high velocity particles ejected from high speed cutting or heating equipment.