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ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2020 – Standard for Safety Glasses: Eye & Face Protection

“Seeing potential hazards in the workplace significantly reduces the chances of recordable injuries. And, when employees wear proper eye protection, you’re that much closer to zero. That’s why Walman Optical Safety Eyewear uses advanced technology to manufacture and test every pair of prescription safety eyewear produced in our U.S. optical laboratories to adhere to ANSI Z87.1 standards. We believe that safety eyewear is a required medical device that must be precisely fitted and measured to each employee and we support the responsibility companies have to keep its workforce safe and healthy with simple, customized programs. We pair only functional and fashionable ANSI Z87-2+ safety frames with cutting edge optical products like digital lenses, anti-fog coatings and blue light filtering lenses to enhance productivity, health and safety in your company.” Walman Optical, 844.401.7702, www.walmanopticalsafetyeyewear.com

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics[1] (BLS), there were 38,390 eye-related injury or illness cases that resulted in at least one day away from work from 2021-2022. An analysis published by BLS[2] in 2023 found contact with objects or equipment led to the majority of eye injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work in 2020. Of these 11,980 cases, 59.6% resulted from the worker rubbing or being abraded by foreign matter in the eye. Another 35.6% resulted from the eye being struck by an object or equipment.

While large objects may strike the eye or face, or a worker may run into an object causing blunt-force trauma to the eyeball or eye socket, most eye injuries involve small particles or objects that strike and scrape the eye. These materials can include dust, cement chips, metal slivers and wood chips, which are often ejected by tools, windblown or fall from above a worker.

Penetration can occur when objects like nails, staples or slivers of wood or metal go through the eyeball and can result in permanent vision loss. Chemical and thermal burns happen when the eye comes into contact with industrial chemicals or cleaning products. Welders are also at risk of thermal burns to the eye. These burns routinely damage workers’ eyes and surrounding tissue.

Keeping Workers’ Eyes Safe

Eye injuries can have life-changing effects, including blindness. Many work-related eye injuries could have been prevented with the proper selection and use of eye and face protection. OSHA requires employers to ensure the safety of all employees in the work environment. Eye and face protection must be provided whenever necessary to protect against chemical, environmental, radiological or mechanical irritants and hazards.

ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2020, the American National Standard for Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection, prescribes the design, performance specifications and marking of safety eye and face products, including millions of safety goggles, spectacles, face shields and welding helmets worn by workers in a variety of manufacturing and processing facilities, utilities and transportation, university and research laboratories, and other occupational settings.

Update History of the Standard

© Tomasz Zajda – stock.adobe.com

ANSI/ISEA Z87.1 was revised in 2010 and in 2015 – the latter to address emerging technologies. The 2020 revisions added criteria for testing, performance and marking related to anti-fog properties. In consideration of specific applications, i.e., first responders and military personnel, the current 2020 version includes criteria and requisite markings for protectors offering relaxed optics as an option to the long-standing requirements.

These applications that may not require the stringent optical criteria historically imposed and need to be balanced against often competing needs or protections that go hand-in-hand with specific tasks. For example, ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2020 provides for relaxed optics as an option which might not be appropriate for laboratory environments or industrial applications.

Certain other updates address the emergence of innovative product designs, which past editions did not include. For example, changes in transmittance allowances to recognize the unique properties of wrap lenses and expanded welding filter shades are included in the update.

In addition, clarifications have been made throughout the updated standard to provide consistency in testing execution. Examples include applying dark-state tolerances for automatic darkening welding filters or determining the minimum coverage area with respect to the specified head form.

Additional Markings

Eyewear that is in compliance with ANSI Z87.1-2020 bears that mark of Z87. Additional markings will help employers and workers select eye protection suited to specific tasks and conditions. These additional markings[3] include:

  • Z87-2: Rx
  • H: coverage
  • +, Z87+, Z87-2+: impact mark
  • O2: relaxed optical level
  • W shade: welding filter lens
  • U scale number: UV filter lens
  • R scale number: IR filter lens
  • L scale number: visible light filter lens
  • V: variable tilt lens
  • S: special purpose lenses
  • X: anti-fog
  • D3: splash/droplet use
  • D4: dust use
  • D5: fine dust use

ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2020 is incorporated into OSHA regulations for PPE. Safety managers and workers know that the “Z87” marking on safety glasses and other forms of eye protection are an indication of their effectiveness in safeguarding eyes from a variety of hazards.

The ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2020 standard can be purchased at ANSI’s webstore: https://safetyequipment.org/worker_protections/eye-face-protection/ WMHS

[1]https://www.bls.gov/iif/nonfatal-injuries-and-illnesses-tables.htm#summary

[2]https://tinyurl.com/2p96zy87

[3]https://blog.ansi.org/?p=163407

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