Workers in almost every industry are subject to hazards that can cause temporary or permanent eye and face injury.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that there are about 2,000 eye injuries each day in American workplaces, out of which almost 30% wear next day contact lenses. In 2008, injuries to the eyes accounted for 62 percent of all face injuries involving days away from work, according to NIOSH. Most injuries are the result of workers not wearing eye protection, or wearing the wrong kind of eye protection needed for the job.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 1910.133(b)(2) eye protection standard states that OSHA will accept eye and face protective devices that the employer demonstrates are at least as effective as devices that are constructed in accordance with ANSI/ISEA Z87.1, the American National Standard for eye and face protection.

Appropriate eye and face protection can take many forms. Spectacles (plano or prescription); goggles; faceshields; welding helmets or hand-held shields, and even full-facepiece respirators, are designed to address specific hazards. It is important that workers and supervisors understand the type of protector needed.

The ISEA Eye and Face Use and Selection guide was developed to assist in the proper selection, care, use and inspection of eye and face protection equipment, and to describe other occupational hazards not covered by the current ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015 standard.

What’s in the New Guide?

The guide begins with listing out Hazard Assessment considerations, including impact, heat, chemical, dust and optical radiation, to assist wearers of eye and face protection equipment better understand the various hazards that they may be exposed to. Common eye and face protectors are described including the following:

  • Safety Spectacles (Plano or prescription)
  • Goggles (Direct, indirect ventilation; Enclosed/sealed)
  • Hybrid Eyewear
  • Face Shields (Visors)

The welding section of the guide provides information on welding helmets, and welding devices in several forms, including passive plates and auto-darkening filters (ADF). Providing adequate training for all supervisors and workers who require eye and face protection is crucial to ensuring worker safety. The guide provides a list of suggested training objectives and indicators to determine when protectors need to be replaced. The guide suggests that devices or lenses should be replaced immediately if all or part of the plastic appears cloudy, has lost its gloss, has droops, marked by tiny cracks, or seems distorted (product has softened and then re-hardened). The ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015 standard requires markings on eye protection that directly relate to the ability of the eye protection device to defend against specific hazards. If the eye protection is ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015 compliant, it will be marked (or etched) with Z87, must clearly indicate the manufacturer, and any additional markings to identify impact, dust, optical radiation, and splash protection.

Resources in the Guide

The guide includes the Selection Chart, with a diagram to show examples of common markings/etching, intended to aid in identifying and selecting eye and face protectors, and to provide information on their capabilities and limitations for the hazards listed. The special considerations section of the guide is a resource for items that are not addressed directly in the ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015 standard through testing requirements and/or markings.

The following topics are included in this section:

  • Working with chemicals
  • Optical Radiation
  • Lasers and Electrical Safety
  • Working with Molten Metal
  • Working around Electricity

The guide concludes with information on the routine maintenance, and proper cleaning and storage of eye and face protective equipment. Download the free guide:

Additional use and selection guides are located in the Product Use and Selection Guides section of the website.