Safety Glasses and Face Shields

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The Full Guide to Safety Glasses and Face Shields

This in-depth resource provides an overview of eye safety in the workplace — from colors to lenses to coating and everything in-between.

ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015

Help protect yourself by choosing safety glasses that comply with the most recent ANSI standard.

ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015, the American National Standard for Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, is the latest edition of the standard for eye and face protection. The Z87.1 designation was first used in 1968, and the standard has been revised five times since then. The 2010 ANSI/ISEA Z87.1 revision was a dramatic shift away from product configuration requirements toward a hazard-based structure. The 2015 revision continues to focus on product performance and harmonization with global standards and fine-tunes the 2010 hazard-based product performance structure.

The ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015 standard is organized by the nature of each hazard: impact, heat, chemical, dust and optical radiation. This approach encourages users to evaluate the specific hazards they are exposed to and select appropriate protection based on that evaluation. Products are either standard minimum-impact or high-impact protectors. In addition to the manufacturer's monogram, Z87 marking and impact marking, manufacturers must add lens type (welding, ultraviolet [UV] filter, visible light filter, infrared [IR] filter, variable tint or special purpose) and use protection against splash/droplet, dust and fine dust markings when claims of impact rating, specific lens type and/or use are made.

Safety Culture 

Challenges Faced by Workers Wearing Eye Protection

Lens Coatings

Help enhance the versatility and life span of eye protection by using eyewear with lens coatings available separately or in combination with others for enhanced functionality.

Anti-fog coating is designed to help reduce fogging in cold to warm temperature transitions and high-humidity environments.

Scratch-resistant coating is designed to help protect and extend the lens life when used in abrasive environments where scratches are possible.

Anti-static coating coating reduces dust and particulate attraction to the lens.

Hard coating is permanently bonded to lens to extend lens life.

Anti-UV coating absorbs more than 99.9% of harmful ultraviolet radiation.

Lens Color Guide

This handy guide will help you understand the functionality of task-specific lenses and to determine what color or tint may be best for your application and environment when it comes to workplace safety. A good rule of thumb is to choose a lens based on color opposites. For example, blue is the opposite of yellow and red is the opposite of green. So, red lenses absorb green light and yellow lenses absorb blue UV light and vice versa.

Clear Clear 
Provides excellent optics for general indoor applications where impact protection is required.
Gray Gray
For outdoor applications where light and glare can cause eye strain and fatigue.
Indoor/Outdoor Indoor/Outdoor
A clear lens with a slight mirror coating serves the same purpose as the gray lens, yet allows more visible light through the lens for indoor/outdoor use. Reduces glare from artificial light.
Mirror Gold, blue and silver mirror 
Use outdoors where sunlight and glare cause eye strain and fatigue. Mirror coating reflects light, reducing the amount of light that passes through the lens.
Brown Brown/espresso
For outdoor applications where sunlight and glare cause eye strain and fatigue. Most suppliers’ brown/espresso lenses meet color traffic signal recognition requirements.
Vermillion Vermilion
Enhances contrast while reducing all color equally for optimum color recognition. Ideal for indoor inspection.
Amber Amber
Blocks the blue portion of the visible light spectrum, creating maximum contrast enhancement, particularly in low light.

Filter shades
Protection from optical radiation is directly related to filter lens density. Rule of thumb is to always select the darkest shade that allows adequate task performance.

Shades

Shades 1.5–3 
Torch soldering

Shades

Shades 3–4 
Torch brazing

Shades

Shades 3–6 
Cutting

Shades

Shades 4–8
Gas welding

Shades

Shades 10–14
Electric arc welding

Source: Adapted from Uvex “Lens Technology”

Hazard Assessment

Eye and Face Protection Selection Chart

Hazard Type

Common Related Tasks

Protectors

Impact: Flying
fragments, objects, large 
chips, particles, sand,
dirt, etc.

Chipping, grinding, machining,
masonry work, riveting 
and sanding

Safety glasses with side protection

Goggles with direct or indirect ventilation 

Face shield worn over safety glasses or goggles

Welding helmet worn over safety glasses or goggles

Loose-fitting respirator worn over safety glasses or goggles

Full facepiece respirators

Heat: Hot sparks, splash
from molten metal and
high-temperature 
exposure

Furnace operations, pouring, casting, hot dipping, gas cutting
and welding

Safety glasses with side protection

Goggles with direct or indirect ventilation 

Face shield worn over safety glasses or goggles 

Full facepiece respirators

Loose-fitting respirator worn over safety glasses or goggles 

Screen face shield over safety glasses or goggles

Reflective face shield over safety glasses or goggles

Chemical: Splash, 
droplets, spray and 
irritating mist

Liquids, acid and chemical handling,
degreasing and plating

Goggles with indirect ventilation (eyecup or cover type) or no ventilation (cover type)

Face shield worn over goggles

Loose-fitting respirator worn over safety glasses or goggles

Full facepiece respirators

Dust: Nuisance and fine

Woodworking, buffing and 
general dusty conditions

Goggles with direct, indirect or no ventilation (eyecup or cover type) 

Full facepiece respirators

Optical Radiation

IR, visible light, UV, lasers, arc
welding, oxy-fuel gas welding, 
oxy-fuel or oxygen cutting, 
torch brazing, torch soldering and glare

Safety glasses with side protection

Goggles with direct or indirect ventilation

Face shield worn over safety glasses or goggles

Welding helmet over safety glasses or goggles

Loose-fitting respirator worn over safety glasses or goggles

Full facepiece respirators

Hand shield over safety glasses or goggles

Welding goggles

Welding face shield over safety glasses or goggles

Welding respirator

Safety glasses – shade or special-purpose lenses

Safety glasses with or without side protection – shade or special-purpose lenses

 Source: Adapted from Uvex “Lens Technology”

Do You Need Safety Reading Glasses?

Why Safety Reading Glasses?
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, there are over 81 million Americans 45 to 64 years of age. Most of these individuals will require reading glasses. A large proportion of them will need reading glasses in combination with protective safety glasses. Grainger can help you meet that need for your employees.

Save Your Company Money
Approximately 75 million pairs of plano (nonprescription) safety glasses are sold in the U.S. each year. About 10% of all users of safety glasses require bifocal safety glasses, which typically cost about $150 per pair. Help save your company and employees money by offering them safety reading glasses in place of prescription eyewear.

Calculate Your Savings
Grainger offers safety reading glasses at an average of about $20 a pair. That’s a potential $130 savings per employee when switching from prescription eyewear to safety reading glasses. If you have 500 workers, approximately 10% (or about 50 employees) could potentially require safety reading glasses. If you calculate your savings, it could be about $6500!

It’s Easy to Find Your Work Sight Diopter Strength
Click here for your diopter chart. Print the chart and follow the instructions to help you find the diopter strength you need.

Eye and Face Protection Device Definitions in ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015

Accessory — An item that is added to a complete device that may or may not affect the performance of that complete device.

Aftermarket component — A component that may or may not be manufactured by the complete device manufacturer and is not supplied with the original complete device.

Cover lens — An expendable lens used to help protect another lens from surface damage and is not intended to contribute to user protection. It is not a safety plate.

Faceshield  A protector commonly intended to shield the wearer’s face, or portions thereof from certain hazards, as indicated by the face shield’s markings.

Full facepiece respirator — A tight-fitting respirator that covers the nose, mouth and eyes from approximately the hairline to below the chin.

Goggle — A protector intended to fit the face, surrounding the eyes in order to help shield them from certain hazards, depending upon goggle type. Available in non-vented or with direct or indirect vents.

Hand shield — A hand-held welding helmet.

Impact resistance — The ability of safety eyewear to withstand impact when tested according to ANSI requirements.

Infrared radiation — Electromagnetic energy with wavelengths from 780 to 2000 nanometers (nm).

Loose-fitting respirator — A respiratory inlet covering that is designed to form a partial seal with the face, or that completely covers the head and neck and may cover portions of the shoulder.

Luminous transmittance — The fraction of light (380 to 780nm) passing through a medium.

Magnifier — A mass-produced lens (nonprescription) that incorporates plus refractive power throughout the entirety of the lens. This includes spectacle lenses but does not include magnifiers inserted into welding devices, which are considered accessories.

Nanometer (nm) — A unit of measurement of wavelength equal to one billionth of a meter (10-9 meter).

Optical radiation — The part of the electromagnetic spectrum with wavelengths between 200 and 2000 nm.

Protector — A complete device meeting, at a minimum, the requirements of Section 5 of ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015.

Reader — A mass-produced, non-prescriptive spectacle that incorporates plus refractive power in a portion of the lens.

Sideshield  A component of a spectacle that provides lateral protection.

Spectacle — A protector intended to shield the wearer's eyes from certain hazards, depending on the spectacle type.

Ultraviolet radiation — Electromagnetic energy with wavelengths from 200 to 380 nm.

Welding face shield — A face shield intended to provide optical radiation protection for limited welding applications.

Welding goggle — A goggle intended to provide optical radiation protection for limited welding applications.

Welding helmet  A face-shield-type device intended to provide protection specifically to the eyes and against optical radiation and weld splatter.

Welding respirator — A respirator intended to provide optical radiation protection for welding operations.

Sources

29 CFR 1910.132, General Requirements.

29 CFR 1910.133, Eye and Face Protection.

American National Standard Institute (ANSI) / ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015

Prevent Blindness America

Find even more information you can use to help make informed decisions about the regulatory issues you face in your workplace every day. View all Quick Tips Technical Resources at www.grainger.com/quicktips.

Think Safety. Think Grainger.®
Grainger has the products, services and resources to help keep employees safe and healthy while operating safer facilities. You’ll also find a network of safety resources that help you stay in compliance and protect employees from hazardous situations. Count on Grainger for lockout tagout, fall protection equipment, confined space products, safety signs, personal protective equipment (PPE), emergency response and so much more!

DISCLAIMER:The information contained in this publication is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This publication is not a substitute for review of the current applicable government regulations and standards specific to your location and business activity, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.

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