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Eye Protection at Work: What Are Safety Glasses?

Safety glasses are protective eyewear that meet the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). OSHA enforces the occupational health and safety standards while ANSI specifies manufacturing standards for protective eyewear. Note that advances in technology allow for safety glasses that are more comfortable and attractive than before, while meeting current requirements.

How to Recognize Safety Glasses

  • Frames: Safety frames are stronger than street-wear frames and are heat-resistant. They help prevent lenses from being pushed into your eyes.

  • Lenses: Safety glasses that meet ANSI standards have glass or polycarbonate lenses. They are stronger than street-wear lenses, are more impact-resistant, and come in prescription and nonprescription (plano) forms.

Two types of safety glasses. Closeup of frame imprint. All safety frames that meet ANSI standards have "Z87" stamped on them. Closeup of lens marking. Manufacturer's identification or monogram appears on top of each safety lens that meets ANSI standards.

Care of Safety Glasses

Like any other piece of equipment, safety glasses need maintenance. Learn how to clean and store, and when to replace, your safety glasses.

  • Cleaning. Inspect your safety glasses daily and follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning. Rough handling when cleaning can cause sight-impairing scratches or weaken the lens.

  • Storing. Store your safety glasses in a clean, dry place where they can't fall or be stepped on.

  • Replacing. Scratched, broken, bent, or ill-fitting eyewear should be replaced as soon as possible. Damaged eyewear interferes with your ability to see, and its protective features may be reduced.

 

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