According to the latest ANSI standards, safety glasses must have side shields. Side shields are the added attachments on the sides of your safety glasses to better protect the eyes. Side shields added to safety glasses prevent flying foreign bodies (including liquid, wood, metal shavings and other objects) from getting in the eyes. There are two types of side shields: clip-on and permanently attached.
Clip-on Side Shields
Clip-on side shields means exactly that… they clip-on to the safety glasses. The advantage for the employee who is wearing the safety glasses is the side shields can be removed (meaning they can wear the glasses off-duty at home). Safety frames are so attractive today that you really can’t tell the difference between safety frames and streetwear frames. So employees like having clip-on side shields for wearing outside of work.
Employers don’t like the clip-on side shields because it makes it easier for employees to lose their side shields. If an employee wears safety glasses without the side shields, the employer is therefore not in compliance with safety regulations.
Permanently Attached Side Shields
Permanently attached side shields are attached to the temple of the frame (in what is called the “t lock”) and locks the side shield on the temple so that it can’t be removed. The main advantage of having permanent side shields is that workers cannot remove the side shields from the safety glasses, thus ensuring safety and compliance.
When trying to decide which option is best for you, consider compliance, safety, and off-work use. Also, please note that all certified side shields must be marked in specific ways in order to meet the latest ANSI Z87 standard. If you have side shields that are not properly marked, they do not meet safety standards and do not provide adequate protection.