|Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is eye and face protection?
2. When is the use of eye and face protection required?
3. Can any eye and face protection be used?
4. Who certifies PPE?
5. How can certified eye and face protection be recognized?
6. When must an employer provide eye and face protection for employees?
7. Is training required before eye and face protection is used?
8. Why is a formal eye and face protection program needed?
9. Who is in charge of the protection program?
10. What do employees need to know about the eye and face protection program?
11. What can be done if an employee has a very small face and has trouble being fit tested for a PPE?
12. If employees wear eyeglasses with prescription lenses, are these considered eye protection?
13. Can employees wear glasses while wearing eye and face protection?
14. What maintenance and care is required for eye and face protection?
15. My employees work in shifts. Could I provide one pair of protective eyewear for each position instead of each employee?
16. What is the proper way to store protective devices that are used routinely?
17. What are the employer's obligations when eye and face protection is not required but employees wear eye and face protection of their own accord?
18. Can face shields protect employees instead of safety goggles or spectacles?
19. How dark do lenses on welding helmets and safety goggles need to be?
20. How do I protect employees from exposure to laser beams?
Q: What is eye and face protection?
A: Eye and face protection is protective
equipment such as spectacles, goggles, face shields, or welding
shields that are designed to protect the wearer against a variety of hazards.
Q: When is the use of eye and face protection
A: OSHA's eye and face protection standard, 29 CFR 1910.133, requires the use of eye and face protection when
workers are exposed to eye or face hazards such as flying objects, molten metal,
liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or
vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.
Q: Can any eye and face protection be used?
A: No, eye and face protection
must be selected on the basis of hazards to which the worker is exposed
(i.e., impact, penetration, compression, chemical, heat, harmful
dust, light radiation, or combination).
Q: Who certifies
A: The American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Q: How can certified eye and face protection be recognized?
A: Certified protective devices shall be marked permanently and legibly by the manufacturer, so that
it can be easily identified. The mark shall not interfere with
Q: When must an employer provide eye and face protection for
A: Employers must provide eye
protection for employees whenever they are exposed to potential eye
injuries during their work if work practice or engineering controls
do not eliminate the risk of injury.
Q: Is training required before eye and face protection is used?
A: Yes, training must be provided to
employees who are required to use eye and face protection. The
training must be comprehensive, understandable, and recur annually,
and more often if necessary. This training should include at a
- Why the eye and face protection is necessary and how improper
fit, use, or maintenance can compromise its protective effect.
- Limitations and capabilities of the eye and face protection.
- Effective use in emergency situations.
- How to inspect, put on and remove.
- Maintenance and storage.
- Recognition of medical signs and symptoms that may limit or prevent effective use.
- General requirements of OSHA's eye and face protection
standard, 29 CFR 1910.133
Q: Why is a formal eye and face protection program needed?
A: The eye and face protection program increases the chances of
using equipment correctly. Eye and face Protection will only protect if it
is used correctly. Also, OSHA requires a number of written elements
for all PPE protection programs.
Q: Who is in charge of the protection program?
A: The program must be administered by a
trained program administrator who is qualified and knowledgeable in
eye and face protection to run all aspects of the program.
Q: What do employees need to know about the eye and face protection program?
A: Employers must establish and implement a
written eye and face protection program with worksite-specific procedures and
elements for required eye and face protective equipment use. The provisions of the program include
procedures for selection, medical evaluation, fit testing, training,
use and care of eye and face protection.
Q: What can be done if an employee has a very small face and has
trouble being fit tested for a PPE?
A: Manufacturers make several different
sizes. Eye and face protection may also vary in size from
manufacturer to manufacturer. Users may be able to get a better fit
by trying eye and face protection made by another manufacturer.
Employers must help employees find suitable eye and face protection.
Q: If employees wear eyeglasses with prescription lenses,
are these considered eye protection?
A: No. Eyeglasses designed for
ordinary wear do not provide the level of protection necessary to
protect against workplace hazards.
Q: Can employees wear glasses while wearing eye and face protection?
A: Yes, special care must be taken when choosing eye protectors for employees
who wear eyeglasses with corrective lenses such as the following:
- Prescription spectacles, with side shields and protective
lenses meeting the requirements of ANSI Z87.1, that also correct
the individual employee's vision.
- Goggles that can fit comfortably over corrective eyeglasses
without disturbing the alignment of the eyeglasses.
- Goggles that incorporate corrective lenses mounted behind
Q: What maintenance and care is required for eye and face
A: It is important that all eye and face protection be kept
clean and properly maintained. Cleaning is particularly
important where dirty or fogged lenses
could impair vision.
Eye and face protection
should be inspected, cleaned, and maintained at regular intervals so
that equipment provides the requisite protection. It is also
important to ensure that contaminated equipment which cannot be
decontaminated is disposed of in a manner that protects
employees from exposure to hazards.
Q: My employees work in shifts. Could I provide one pair of
protective eyewear for each position instead of each employee?
A: Yes. If you do this, however, you
must disinfect shared protective eyewear after each use. If the
goggles or spectacles do not have to be individually designed to
incorporate an employee's corrective lenses and you disinfect the
eyewear between uses by different employees, more that one employee may use the same
set of protective eyewear.
Q: What is the proper way to store protective devices that are used routinely?
A: Goggles should be kept in a
case when not in use. Spectacles, in particular, should be given the same care
as one's own glasses, since the frame, nose pads, and temples can be damaged by
After disinfecting eyewear, the dry parts or items should be
placed in a clean, dust-proof container, such as a box, bag, or
plastic envelope, to protect them until reissue.
Q: What are the employer's obligations when eye and face
protection is not required but employees wear eye and face
protection of their own accord?
A: The employer must implement those
elements of the written eye and face protection program necessary to
ensure that any employee using eye and face protection voluntarily is medically
able to use that PPE, and that the eye and face protection is cleaned,
stored, and maintained so its use does not present a health hazard
to the user. Also, employers must provide the voluntary eye and face
protection users with the information contained in OSHA's Eye and Face
Protection Standard 29 CFR 1910.133
Employers are not required to include in a written eye and face
protection program those employees whose only use of eye and face protection involves the
voluntary use of PPE.
Q: Can face shields protect employees instead of
safety goggles or spectacles?
A: Face shields
alone do not protect
employees from impact hazards. Face shields may be used in
combination with safety goggles or spectacles to protect against
Q: How dark do lenses on welding helmets and safety goggles need to be?
A: The intensity of light or radiant energy produced by welding,
cutting, or brazing operations varies according to a number of
factors including the task producing the light, the electrode size,
and the arc current. To protect employees who are exposed to intense
radiant energy, begin be selecting a shade too dark to see the
welding zone. Then try lighter shades until you find one that allows
a sufficient view of the welding zone without going below the
minimum protective shade.
Q: How do I protect employees from exposure to laser beams?
A: You must provide safety goggles specifically designed to protect the
employees' eyes from the specific intensity of light produced by the
laser. The level of protection will vary according the level of
radiation emitted by the laser. If your employees are exposed to
laser beams, you must determine the maximum power density, or
intensity, that the lasers can produce. Based on this knowledge, you
must select lenses that will protect against this maximum intensity.
Employers with lasers emitting radiation between two measures of
power density (or light blocking capability) must provide lenses
that offer protection against the higher of the two intensities.
Q: How can I be sure that laser safety goggles provide enough
A: Every pair of safety goggles intended for use with
laser beams must bear a label with the following information:
- The laser wavelengths for which they are intended to be used.
- The optical density of those wavelengths.
- The visible light transmission.