ANSI Z87.1 Defined
ANSI is an acronym for the American National Standards Institute, a nonprofit organization the the primary mission to…
Enhance both the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the U.S. quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems and safeguarding their integrity.
In other words, ANSI creates uniform testing standards and guidelines for a variety of products and equipment used by businesses in nearly every sector.
The Z87.1 portion references the standard for personal Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices. These standards help ensure personal eye and face protection devices provide the necessary protection from impact, non-ionizing radiation, and liquid splash exposures.
The ANSI Z87.1 standard has been updated twice since 2003, with revisions in 2010 and 2015. These updates focus on product performance and attempt to harmonize with international standards while keeping the needs of end users in mind with consideration to workplace hazards and regulatory obligations.
The current ANSI.1-2015 standard continues to differentiate protectors based on specific risks with additional emphasis placed on enabling users to select the appropriate protector based on their environment and the hazard.
Selecting the appropriate eye protection for your environment and it’s potential hazards is critical.
General Requirements For ANSI Z87.1
Since most people have never read the ANSI Z87.1 document, they may not fully understand what this certification covers. The ANSI Z87.1 certification helps in this effort by providing a certification system organized based on encountered hazards.
This standard means the choice of safety eyewear revolves around what best represents the protection needed for the specific hazards encountered in the workplace. The most common hazards include:
- Blunt impact
- Splashes and droplets
- Small dust particles
Most safety eyewear manufacturers now provide packaging and product information revolving around how products meet these standards. Note that prescription safety lenses are also allowed under this standard. Previously, they had to be a certain thickness, but thinner prescription lenses are now allowed if they meet high-impact testing requirements.
ANSI Z87.1 certified safety glasses undergo intensive testing to ensure they’ll protect eyes as expected. Tests include…
- Basic and high-impact for lenses and frames.
- Exposure to non-ionizing radiation and chemicals.
- Durability to flammables and corrosion.
The following video from Edge Eyewear does an excellent job demonstrating the different tests performed on safety eyewear. After seeing how badly non-safety-rated eyewear fails these basic tests, you’ll only want to purchase ANSI-Z87.1 rated eyewear.
Starting in 2010 with additional updates in 2015, the ANSI Z87.1 standard requires efficient and easy-to-understand lens & frame markings. These markings help make the selection process simpler and increases compliance. Those product markings indicate ratings in the following areas:
- Impact: “Z87+” indicates high-velocity impact, and “Z87” alone means basic impact
- Splash and droplet: D3 for splash and droplet and D4 for dust
- Fine dust: D5
- Welding: W plus the shade number
- UV: U plus the scale number
- Infrared light: R plus the scale number
- Visible light filter: L plus the scale number
- Prescription: Z87-2 on the front of the front of the frame and on both temples
- Head size: H indicates products designed for smaller head sizes
- Other: V for photochromic and S for special lens tint
All safety markings for ANSI Z87.1-2015 safety eyewear must be permanently and clearly marked on the frame or lens. This marking requirement includes goggles and face shields as well as safety glasses.
Product Marking Examples
The image above shows a pair of Bolle Safety Glasses with the new ANSI Z87.1-2015 product marking requirements. The marking is broken down as follows…
- “Z87+” indicates eyewear meets the high-velocity impact requirement.
- “U6” means the eyewear has a UV rating of 6, which is the highest rating.
- “S” indicates a special lens tint because these glasses feature Bolle’s ESP lens.
You may encounter safety eyewear with only “Z87” or the manufacturer’s mark with a “+” stamped on the lens or frame. These products, which are still safe to use, were produced before or just after the 2010 standard. They still meet ANSI Z87.1 high-velocity impact safety standards, but they don’t have the new product marking requirements from the recent 2010 and 2015 standards.
Workers in almost every industry are exposed to hazards that could cause serious eye injury. When combined with 100% compliance to a mandatory eye protection program, the right safety eyewear based on the current ANSI Z87.1-2015 safety standards helps ensure that doesn’t happen.