According to the CDC, approximately 2,000 eye injuries occur every day at work in the United States. Proper face and eye protection reduce workplace injuries and permit safe operation in potentially dangerous endeavors. ANSI/ISEA Z87.1:2020 – American National Standard for Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices (or ANSI Z87) protects the human face in these environments while remaining an up-to-date guideline by acknowledging any significant changes in the eye and face protector industry.
Why Our Eyes Are So Important
The significance to the human face is universally noticed. We have the ability to learn many things from others simply by looking at their face, such as identifying personalities, emotions, and even health issues. This talent is unique to primates and perfected in humans. For example, we can sense the direction where other people are looking by observing the whites of their eyes, and we can deduce another’s feelings and thoughts by the movement of their cheeks and lips.
Some work activities can be harmful to our faces, damaging our ability to project our emotional status to be read by others. Potential threats span from eye and skin exposure from ultraviolet radiation to direct impact by foreign objects, debris or chemicals.
The ANSI Z87.1 Standard
ANSI/ISEA Z87.1:2020, an American National Standard, helps eliminate eye and face hazards in occupational and educational settings. To accomplish this objective, the standard provides criteria and requirements for selection, use, and maintenance of the different face and eye protectors to promote the most effective materials and methods of use.
This standard can find usage in a variety of environments, including machinery operations, material welding and cutting, chemical handling, and assembly operations, as well as many others.
Please note, however, that ANSI/ISEA Z87.1:2020 does not include certain hazardous exposures like bloodborne pathogens, X-rays, high-energy particulate radiation, microwaves, radio-frequency radiation, lasers, masers, and sports and recreation.
This standard should be applied when the equipment is first placed in service, so that any applicable protectors will be stamped with the marking “Z87” to demonstrate that the meet the minimum guidelines laid out in the standard. Examples of these apparatuses include face shields and chin protectors.
History of ANSI Z87.1
The 2020 edition of ANSI/ISEA Z87.1 is the first revision to be released since 2015. Previously, 2010 revision was monumental, shifting towards being more hazard-based as opposed to the original product configuration requirements of the standard.
The 2015 edition polished these changes, as it also addressed issues related to the emergence of new technologies that were not previously covered in ANSI/ISEA Z87.1. For example, protectors known as “magnifiers” and “readers” that have lenses with magnifying properties were incorporated in the standard.
You can learn more about the changes to the most recent edition of this standard in our post ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2020: Current Standard for Safety Glasses.