According to OSHA, eye and face protection must comply with the American National Standards Institute ANSI Z87.1-1989 standard if purchased after July 5, 1994 or ANSI Z87.1-1968 if purchased before July 5, 1994.
So, what is ANSI and what does this mean? ANSI is an acronym for the American National Standards Institute, a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that works to improve the efficiency of organizations.
The Z87.1 section references the standard for personal Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices. These standards help ensure personal eye and face protection devices provide the necessary protection from impact, non-ionizing radiation, and liquid splash exposures.
Established in 2003, the standard has been refined twice, in 2010 and 2015.
Since ANSI is not a governmental agency, they have no power to force employers to follow their standards. It is only when a governmental agency like OSHA makes it mandatory.
In general, what is ANSI Z87.1?
The ANSI Z87.1 provides a certification system organized based on encountered hazards. This simply means the choice of safety eyewear revolves around what best represents the protection needed for the specific hazards encountered in the workplace.
The most common hazards include:
- Blunt impact
- Splashes and droplets
- Dust particles
The ANSI standards basically prescribe the design, performance specifications, and marking of safety eye and face products. The standards help ensure personal eye and face protection products accommodate the necessary protection from real life hazards. This includes safety goggles, glasses, face shields and welding helmets.
OSHA and ANSI Working Together
Here’s what you’ll find on the OSHA website:
• Eye and face personal protective equipment (PPE) shall be distinctly marked to facilitate identification of the manufacturer. [29 CFR 1910.133(a)(4)]
• The following minimum requirements must be met by all protective devices. Protectors shall:
- Provide adequate protection against the particular hazards for which they are designed.
- Be of safe design and construction for the work to be performed.
- Be reasonably comfortable when worn under the designated conditions.
- Fit snugly and not unduly interfere with the movements of the wearer.
- Be durable.
- Be capable of being disinfected.
- Be easily cleanable.
- Be distinctly marked to facilitate identification only of the manufacturer.
Most safety eyewear manufacturers now provide packaging and product information revolving around how products meet these standards.
To find out more about the ANSI standards:
What Does ANSI Z87.1 Certified Mean?