ANSI/ISEA Z87.1 Eye & Face Protection Standards

What does ANSI Z87.1 certified mean?

To start, ANSI stands for theAmerican National Standards Institute. The institute is dedicated to the safety and health of consumers, workers and the protection of the environment. To do this on a large level, the institute approves and issues the testing standards and guidelines to protect consumers and workers from real life hazards.

You may also see some standards written like the following: ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015 Standard. This means the standard is approved by ANSI and ISEA which stands for International Safety Equipment Association. ISEA is the association which actually writes and develops the standards.

ANSI and ISEA work together to bring these standards forward. It is important to note ANSI and ISEA can’t set their standards as law because both are not governmental organizations and have no power to force employers to follow their standards. However, the standards can become mandatory by law if a governmental agency like OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) write ANSI standards into occupational law.

Now, why did we find the need to explain all of that to you? Well, the standard for Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices is known as the ANSI Z87.1 standard and is an OSHA law.

ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015 prescribes the design, performance specifications, and marking of safety eye and face products, including millions of safety goggles, spectacles, face-shields, and welding helmets, worn by workers in thousands of manufacturing and processing facilities, university and research laboratories, and other occupational settings.

The Z87.1 standard was first established in 2003 by the ISEA Z87 committee, approved by ANSI and incorporated into OSHA regulations. (Aren’t you glad we gave you a little background on these three organizations?)

The standard was refined in 2010 and 2015. The 2010 revisions set restrictive design and performance standards while the 2015 revision resulted in a few changes to adapt the needs of safety environments and ever changing technology. As of November 25, 2016 businesses must provide equipment compliant with the Z87.1-2015 guidelines.

Overall, the standards help ensure personal eye and face protection products accommodate the necessary protection from real life hazards. Each product must go through rigorous third-party testing which simulates hazards such as impact by flying objects and debris, high mass impact, and sharp object penetration. In each testing scenario, the lenses and frame must stay intact to pass.

To be truthful, the Z87.1-2015 standard is a very lengthy, detailed document. As a consumer, the most important thing you need to know is that if an eye or face protection product is marked with a Z87 the product meets the standard.

Additional markings include:

  • Impact vs. Non-Impact
    • Impact-rated eye protection will have a plus symbol (+) and written out as “Z87+.”
      • Chemical Splash and Dust Protection
      • Splash or dust protection will be marked with a code that begins with the letter “D”.
        • Protection from droplets and splashes is marked with “D3”
        • Dust protection is labeled “D4”
        • Fine dust protection is labeled “D5”
  • Optical Radiation Protection
    • A lenses’ ability to protect against radiation is indicated by a letter designation
      • Welding Filter: “W” followed by a shade number on a scale from 1.3 to 14.
      • Ultra-violet (UV) Filter: “U” followed by a number on a scale from 2 to 6.
      • Infra-red (Heat) Filter: “R” followed by a number on a scale from 1.3 to 10.
      • Visible Light (Glare) Filter: “L” followed by a number on a scale from 1.3 to 10.
      • Clear lens: No additional marking
      • Variable tint: “V”
      • Special purpose: “S”
    • When appropriate, two additional markings will appear on eye protection:
      • Eye protection designed for a smaller head size will be marked with the letter “H.”
      • Prescription lenses will have the manufacturer’s logo.

Eye protection may have several markings if it meets requirements for two or more categories. For example: Lenses marked “Z87+L8D3D4” provide impacted-rated eye protection, glare reduction, and protection against droplets and dust.

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Need some Z87 rated face protection? Shop our selection here.