Eye Safety Blog

What Makes Safety Glasses Safe?

Posted by Kaitlyn Miller on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 @ 08:04 AM

Employees are often required to wear safety eyewear in the course of their duties.  In the past safety glasses were uncomfortable and bulky.  Newer safety glasses are more comfortable to wear and can even be quite stylish.   

OSHA requires workers to use appropriate PPE for any job which may pose a threat to a person’s health.  Eye or face protection shall be worn when workers could be exposed to flying debris, particles, or hazardous liquids.  Any lenses or frames stamped with “ANSI Z87” will meet or exceed OSHA standards.  The ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standard sets forth requirements for the design, construction, testing, and use of eye protection devices, including standards for impact and penetration resistance. 

The standard designates that lenses will be divided into two protection levels, Basic Impact and High Impact as dictated by test criteria.  Basic Impact lenses must pass the “drop ball” test; a one inch diameter steel ball is dropped on the lens from 50 inches. High Impact lenses must pass “high velocity” testing.  Here 1/4" steel balls are “shot” at velocities from 150 ft/sec for spectacles to 300 ft/sec for face shields.  All eyewear frames, face shields, or crowns must comply with the High Impact requirement.

The impact protection level must be indicated on the device. Basic Impact spectacle lenses will have the manufacturer’s mark and the Z87.  High Impact spectacle lenses will also have a plus + sign following the Z87.  (Note: Lenses/windows may have additional markings. Shaded lenses may have markings denoting a shade number such as 3.0, 5.0 etc… Special purpose lenses may be marked with “S”. A variable tint lens may have a “V” marking.)

Side shield coverage, as part of the lens or as an individual component, has been increased rearward by 10-millimeters via a revised impact test procedure. While side protection in the form of wraparound lens, integral or attached component side shield devices is not mandated in this standard, it is highly recommended.  Further, OSHA does require lateral protection on eye protection devices when a flying particle hazard may exist, and flying particle hazards are virtually always present in any occupational environment. All current safety spectacles meet the requirements of OSHA and Z87.1 for side protection.

As you can see the testing process is rigorous and not all glasses are safety glasses. Employers must conduct a PPE assessment and then provide employees the appropriate protection, including eyewear.

Written by: John DeRoia


Tags: side shields, safety eyewear, Lenses, eye safety standards, safety eyewear program, Eyewear

Reasons to Offer Employees a Wide Variety of Safety Glasses

Posted by Cristie Wineland on Wed, Feb 16, 2011 @ 13:02 PM

Over the 70+ years that Hi-Tech Optical has been in business, one common theme we tell our customers is they need to offer a wide variety of safety glasses for their workers. Why is it important to have a good variety of safety glasses? The better the variety of safety glasses, the higher the employee utilization of the glasses and the better your compliance with legal regulations. If the employees like their safety glasses and they are comfortable, they will wear them.

Factors that must be considered when providing a safety glasses selection for employees is style, fit, safety, and job needs.

  • Style: Employees like to wear a stylish frame. No one wants to look like a dork with big huge ugly frames.
  • Fit: Safety glasses need to fit comfortably on the face. If it is not comfortable to wear, the worker will constantly take them on and off (increasing the risk of eye injury)… or mysteriously “lose” them because they don’t want to wear them any more. Faces come in all sizes and shapes, from large or small, oblong or round, small nose or big nose, etc. A large selection of safety glasses will allow workers to find a frame style that matches their facial features to offer optimal comfort and fit. 
  • Safety: If a worker has a safety glass that fits properly on their face, their eyes are better protected. If the fit is too loose around the nose, forehead, eyes or ears, there is an increased risk for exposure to unwanted elements, as well as slippage resulting in complete exposure without protection.
  • Job: All safety glasses are not created equal. Some are made specifically for different job applications. Companies must consider the job requirements and offer the best frames and lenses for the specific hazards and risks their workers face. For example, if workers need complete protection of their entire face, they may need safety goggles. Or they may even need a respirator or faceshield with an insert for prescriptions to enable the worker to see clearly.

Many companies with safety glasses programs have a large selection of 20, 30, 40 or more to ensure worker compliance because an increased variety of safety glasses will help workers stay safe.

Tags: safety eyewear program

Face and Eye Protection Safety Standards: It’s the Law!

Posted by Cristie Wineland on Wed, Jan 05, 2011 @ 09:01 AM

If there are dangers of flying particles or other substances that could endanger workers' face and eyes, you must have a safety eyewear for your workers. According to 29CFR1910.133, employers are required to meet standards in eye safety, including eye/face protection (safety glasses), side protection (sideshields), prescription lenses and filter lenses (shading).

  • Safety Glasses: “The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.”
  • Sideshields: “The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses eye protection that provides side protection when there is a hazard from flying objects. Detachable side protectors (e.g. clip-on or slide-on side shields) meeting the pertinent requirements of this section are acceptable.”
  • Prescription: “The employer shall ensure that each affected employee who wears prescription lenses while engaged in operations that involve eye hazards wears eye protection that incorporates the prescription in its design, or wears eye protection that can be worn over the prescription lenses without disturbing the proper position of the prescription lenses or the protective lenses.”
  • Shading: “The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses equipment with filter lenses that have a shade number appropriate for the work being performed for protection from injurious light radiation.”

For the full description of this law, read it online at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2002/julqtr/29cfr1910.133.htm.

We recommend that every employer that needs to provide face and eye protection have a prescription safety eyewear program. A program will help you to manage the various necessary items, including the eye exams and locations, eyewear dispensing, worker training (to wear their eyewear), and the overall program management (cost, eligibility, etc.).

For information about what a safety eyewear program needs to include, request our free ebook “Safety Glass Program Guide” at http://www.hi-techoptical.com/free-ebook-safety-glass-program-guide-for-safety-directors/. It includes the 9 elements necessary for a successful eyewear program!

Tags: eye safety standards, safety eyewear program

Are you Gambling with Your Safety Eyewear Program?

Posted by Stephanie Brown on Thu, Nov 04, 2010 @ 14:11 PM

Having an effective safety eyewear program will promote a safety culture and minimize your worker’s compensation claims, while not having a prescription safety eyewear program could be hazardous to your workers and your bottom line!

The business cost of not having a prescription safety eyewear program for your workers:

  1. It is against the law to not protect your workers eyes if there are substances or particles that could endanger their eyes.
  2. The insurance costs such as insurance premiums, health care, disability, property damage and workers compensation.
  3. The hidden uninsured costs such as wages paid for time lost by injured workers, extra cost of overtime required to pick up work, decreased output of workers after returning to work, time spent by management on processing the injury, and paperwork. (Not to mention attorney fees, bonus loss, etc.)

According to Uvex by Sperian, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the average cost of a disabling eye injury at $2,949 in indemnity compensation and $994 for medical payments – a total of $3,943. 

The average cost of a prescription safety frame is approximately $80, meaning that 50 employees could be provided with prescription safety glasses for the “unhidden” costs of just one eye injury!

Leave the gambling for Vegas and bet on an effective prescription safety eyewear program for your employees.

Tags: safety eyewear program