Describing the ANSI Z87 Standard:

When a standard’s name is comprised of and acronym and a seemingly random string of letters and numbers, we tend feel confused and left in the dark. But how does the ANSI Z87 specify a standard that protects your eyes? ANSI has chosen to gear their standards toward protection from known hazards instead of making them revolve around protection materials. Earlier editions of the standard were incredibly different, and instead the specified standard revolved around creating rules and regulations for the type and composition of safety equipment, not the dangers and hazards of a work environment. Understand that the Z87 standard is appropriate in work environments where the following can be found:

  • Risk of impact from foreign objects
  • Some types of optical radiation
  • Particles of dust or other debris
  • Liquids, splashes, and droplets

It is equally important to understand the hazards the ANSI Z87 standard does not protect you against. For example, the following are a few occupational hazards that are not covered by this standard:

  • X-rays
  • High energy particulate radiation
  • High frequency radiation
  • Microwaves

To ensure that the standard adequately protects and individual, the standard imposes further guidelines that are mandatory for certification. The ANSI Z87 standard also makes other specifications that describe the minimum requirements to become certified eye protection. Some of these specifications include:

  • It must properly protect an individual against the dangers that the eye protection was designed for.
  • It may not be unreasonably uncomfortable
  • It must fit securely and not prohibit an individual’s movement or vision
  • It must be reasonably simple to clean
  • It must be reasonably resistant to damage and meet durability standards
  • Most importantly, it either must not encumber prescription lenses or it must include them in its design

If you require prescription lenses, ideally an eye protection solution that consolidates your prescription lenses into the safety glasses is the most attractive option. While wearing eye protection over other prescription glasses is covered by the ANSI Z87 standard, it can at times seems cumbersome wearing, cleaning, maintaining, and protecting two sets of eye protection. It simply isn’t worth the pain, suffering, and distraction from your work to suffer an eye injury. Finding the right eye protection solution will allow you to focus on your work and ensure your vision won’t become damaged.