Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Requirements: Eye & Face Protection Quick Tips #125 According to Prevent Blindness America, eye injuries in the workplace are very common. Approximately 2,000 people injure their eyes at work each day and one in 10 injuries requires one or more missed workdays. It is estimated that using the correct eye protection could lessen the severity or even prevent 90% of eye injuries.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Requirements
General personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements are addressed in Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.132 – Occupational Safety and Health Standards.
“Protective equipment including personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers shall be provided, used and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary by reason of hazards of processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact.” (29 CFR 1910.132(a))
Eye and face protection requirements are outlined in 29 CFR 1910.133:
- Employers must ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.
- Employers must ensure that each affected employee uses eye protection that provides side protection when there is a hazard from flying objects. Detachable side protectors (e.g. clip-on or slide-on sideshields) meeting the pertinent requirements of this section are acceptable.
- Employers must ensure that each affected employee who wears prescription lenses while engaged in operations that involve eye hazards wears eye protection that incorporates the prescription in its design, or wears eye protection that can be worn over the prescription lenses without disturbing the proper position of the prescription lenses or the protective lenses.
- Employers must ensure that each affected employee uses equipment with filter lenses that have a shade number appropriate for the work being performed for protection from injurious light radiation. (CFR) 1910.132, as determined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), lists general PPE requirements.
Criteria for Protective Eye & Face Devices
On Sept. 9, 2009 OSHA issued a Final Rule concerning 29 CFR (Part 1910 and others) that revised the personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements for eye and face protective devices, head protection and foot protection. The Final Rule incorporated the latest versions of national consensus and industry standards. Additionally, OSHA also announced its use of “direct final rule” to ensure that when standards change, the law is automatically updated.
Therefore, employers must comply with this Final Rule by using and providing for employees eyewear that are constructed in accordance with any of the last three American National Standards Institute (ANSI) national consensus standards or their proven equivalent:
- ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998), American National Standard Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection
- ANSI Z87.1-2003, American National Standard for Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices
- ANSI Z87.1-2010, American National Standard for Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection DevicesNOTE: Even though “direct final rule” applies, the process to actually incorporate ANSI Z87.1-2010 into the federal law may take some time.History of ANSI Z87.1
The first “standard” for head and eye protection dates back to 1922 with the first edition of the Z2 standard by the War and Navy Department and the National Bureau of Standards.In 1968, the eye and face protection standard was published with the Z87 designation, Z87.1-1968. Since then Z87.1 has been revised four times – 1979, 1989, 2003 and 2010. The purpose of this standard has remained the same – to provide minimum requirements for eye and face protective devices including selection, use and maintenance of the devices.
ANSI Z87.1 Key Changes
The 2010 standard focuses on the hazards and is organized by the nature of the hazard – impact, optical radiation, droplet and splash, dust and fine dust and mist. This focus encourages users to evaluate the specific hazards that they are exposed to and to select appropriate protection based on that evaluation. Because of this change, required product markings have changed. Users will have to match the hazard that they need protection from with the marking on the device.
This newer version also addresses aftermarket components. All original equipment manufacturers and non-original equipment manufacturers aftermarket components not sold with the original device must be tested and assembled with the original complete device in the as-worn condition. For aftermarket side shields, the side shields must be tested on representative frames for which the product is specified to fit. Documentation listing all devices that the component or accessory has been tested and is approved for must be made available by the manufacturer. The entity claiming compliance of the component is responsible for testing the assembled device.
Commonly Asked Questions
Q. What should the lenses of my protective eyewear be made of? A. Most lenses are made from polycarbonate. This lightweight plastic absorbs 99% of UV light, can be purchased in welding shades and is highly impact-resistant.
Q. I need safety glasses for work, but I already wear prescription eyewear. What are my options? A. Workers who wear prescription lenses must wear a pair of safety glasses that incorporate the prescription in its design, or wear safety glasses that can be worn over prescription lenses without disturbing the proper position of either. The Guardian, GuardianPro and uvex® astro OTG® 3001 are examples of OTG safety glasses that can be worn over prescription lenses. Safety reading glasses (with diopters incorporated into the lens design) are also available. Eyewear frames and prescription insert holders are available through Grainger for your convenience.
Sources Quick Tips #192: Hazard Assessment Form, 29 CFR 1910.132, General Requirements, 29 CFR 1910.133, Eye and Face Protection American National Standard Institute (ANSI) 11 W. 42nd St. New York, NY 10036 (212) 642-4900 ANSI Z87.1-1989, American National Standard for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection, ANSI Z87.1-2003, American National Standard for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection Devices (Rev. 1/2012)