Protecting the eyes and face important when performing certain tasks. Shatterproof safety glasses, safety goggles and face shields offer eye and face protection while also providing clear vision. Some lenses incorporate a filter to protect the eyes from UV radiation. Many eye protectors have side shields to provide additional coverage from flying objects. However, eye protection may not stop objects flying at high speed.
Selecting Protective Eyewear
In order to be classified as safety glasses, minimum standards must be met in accordance with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Different lenses carry different levels of protection and are identified by a stamp on the lens or arm as marked by the manufacturer:
• ANSI standard Z87.1 is for general eye and face protection, including chemical splash protection.
• ANSI standard Z87.2 (Z87+) is for high impact protection.
Most prescription glasses do not meet the minimum ANSI standard for impact resistance. When wearing prescription glasses, additional protective eyewear is necessary. Protective eyewear can include prescription lenses, safety glasses, or goggles that fit comfortably over prescription glasses without disturbing the fit:
• Be certain that protective eyewear is approved protection against the hazard for which it is being used. For example, impact resistance is necessary for protection against flying objects. Chemical splash resistance is needed when working with liquid chemicals such as pesticides. Vented goggles should not be used where liquid/vapor protection is needed.
• Check with suppliers for the most appropriate types of eye protection for the hazard.
Inspect Protective Eyewear
• Protective eyewear should fit snugly. It should be reasonably comfortable under conditions of use.
• The arm pieces on safety glasses should touch the side of the head and curl behind the ears.
• Goggle lenses should be centered. The strap should rest low on the back of the head.
• Elastic headbands on goggles must be flexible and retain adequate elasticity to hold eyewear in place.
• Discard pitted or scratched eyewear. Eyewear should be clean and defogged.
Type of Eye/Face Protection
Level of Protection
• Protect against flying debris (with side shields).
• Must be worn over prescription lenses.
• Protects against flying debris, gases/vapors (nonvented) and dust.
• Protects against flying debris.
• Provides face protection.
• Must be worn with safety glasses/goggles.
Keep Protective Eyewear Clean and Protected
• Clean the lenses carefully with soap and water.
• Disinfect eyewear that has been exposed to a hazardous substance or worn by someone else.
• Store clean eyewear in a closed, dustproof case. Plastic bags with a zipper work well also.
• Clear and unscratched lenses will be more comfortable to wear and cause less eye strain and fatigue.
To further protect the eyes, follow these safety tips:
• Turn containers away from face when opening.
• Remove protective eyewear only after turning off the tool being used.
• Replace outdated or scratched prescription lenses; they can distort vision.
• Replace cracked, pitted or damaged goggles or spectacles.
• Concentrate on the task at hand when using power tools.
• Stop and relax the eyes if they are becoming strained.
• Keep sharp or pointed objects pointed away from the face and eyes.
• Tools and equipment should be turned off and allowed to stop before removing eye/face protection.
Reviewer: Kent McGuire, CFAES Safety and Health Coordinator, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering