An updated edition of the American National Standard for eye and face protection reinforces the emphasis on matching the protector to the hazard, and includes other enhancements to meet the needs of workers and employers.

American National Standard for Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection, ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015, prescribes the design, performance specifications, and marking of safety eye and face products, including millions of safety goggles, spectacles, faceshields, and welding helmets, worn by workers in thousands of manufacturing and processing facilities, university and research laboratories, and other occupational settings.

It was developed by the Z87 Committee on Safety Eye and Face Protection, which is administered by the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), and approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  Safety eyewear conforming to the standard is widely used in the U.S., and the standard is incorporated into OSHA regulations for personal protective equipment.

Many of the updates in the revision reflect the need to streamline test methods in concert with similar global standards, such as those for impact testing and luminous transmittance for welding protectors, and to recognize new innovations in protector design that had not been previously addressed but which can provide appropriate protection against workplace eye and face hazards.

“The 2015 version reflects a proactive and continued effort to focus on a performance based approach to the standard, versus a design restrictive approach, so that emerging technologies and new hazards can be effectively considered,” said J.P. Sankpill, general manager of MCR Safety’s U.S. Safety division and chairman of the Z87 Committee.

“By way of example in this revision, the ongoing standard development process also serves to meet end user needs through the acknowledgment of specific configurations such as ‘readers’ that offer magnification for the wearer.”

Several key changes reinforce the importance of selecting equipment based on specific hazards against which protection is needed, a concept first introduced in 2010 as part of the standard’s reorganization.  “Z87 Committee members remain committed to ensuring that the standard includes information that can assist safety professionals and workers in making informed decisions in selecting appropriate eye and face protection,” noted Sankpill.

“One way to do this is to be familiar with the protector markings and the corresponding performance requirements given in the standard in order to evaluate the capabilities and limitations of a particular device based on the manufacturer’s claims.”