Eye and Face Protection
Thousands of people are blinded each year from
work-related eye injuries that could have been prevented with the proper
selection and use of eye and face protection. Eye injuries alone cost more than
$300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses, and worker compensation.
OSHA requires employers to ensure the safety of all
employees in the work environment. Eye and face protection must be provided
whenever necessary to protect against chemical, environmental, radiological or
mechanical irritants and hazards.
Eye and face protection is addressed in specific standards for the general
industry, shipyard employment, longshoring, and the construction industry.
This section highlights OSHA standards, Federal
Registers (rules, proposed rules, and notices), standard interpretations
(official letters of interpretation of the standards), and national consensus
standards related to eye and face protection.
Note: Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin
Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and
enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are
identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards
applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies.
General Industry (29
Shipyard Employment (29 CFR 1915)
Longshoring (29 CFR 1918)
Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)
- Employer Payment for Personal Protective Equipment.
Proposed Rules 64:15401-15441, (1999, March 31). Implements the intent of the
Occupational Safety and Health Act, makes clear who is to pay for what kind of
personal protective equipment (PPE), and improves protection to employees who must wear PPE.
- Search all available
Note: These are NOT OSHA regulations. However, they do provide guidance from their originating organizations related to worker protection.
American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection
Devices. Sets forth criteria related to the description, general
requirements, testing, marking, selection, care, and use of protectors to
minimize or prevent injuries, from such hazards as impact, non-ionizing
radiation, and chemical type injuries, in occupational and educational
environments including, but not limited to, machinery operations, material
welding and cutting, chemical handling, and assembly operations.
- Z87.1-1989, Practice for Occupational/Educational Eye and Face
Protection. American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), Secretariat for ANSI
Standard (Revised 1998). Recognizes the Bureau of
Labor Statistics (BLS) study that revealed the need for angular protection in addition
to frontal protection.
- Z358.1-1998, Emergency Eyewash and Shower
Equipment. Provides requirements for eyewash facilities, including location and
Hazards and Solutions
Many workers are unaware of the potential hazards in their
work environments making them more vulnerable to injury. Personal protective equipment (PPE) for the eyes and face
is designed to prevent or lessen the severity of injuries to workers when engineering or administrative controls are not feasible or effective in
reducing these exposures to acceptable levels. The following references aid in recognizing and evaluating
eye and face hazards and provides possible solutions for these hazards.
and Face Protection. OSHA eTool. Provides a comprehensive hazard assessment,
information about selecting protective devices for the workplace, as well as OSHA requirements.
- Selecting PPE for the Workplace.
Provides a hazard assessment to determine the risk of exposure to eye and face hazards, including those which may be encountered in an
emergency, and offers controls.
OSHA Requirements. Focuses on PPE requirements, training and qualification, and the ability to anticipate and avoid injury from job-related hazards.
- Personal Protective Equipment. OSHA
Publication 3151-12R, (2003). Also available as a 629 KB
PDF, 46 pages. Discusses the types of equipment most commonly used
to protect the head, torso, arms, hands, and feet. Additional topics include
requirements, hazard assessment, selection, and employee training.
Eye Safety. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Workplace Safety and Health Topic.
Current Intelligence Bulletin 59: Contact Lens Use in a Chemical Environment. US Department of Health and
Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2005-139, (2005,
June). Provides safety guidelines for contact lens wearers working in
Eye Washes & Deluge Showers. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Discusses the need to install and
maintain an emergency eye wash unit wherever a chemical or physical hazard may
pose a serious risk of injury to someone's eye.
Protection for Farmers. National Ag Safety Database (NASD) and the University
of Maine Cooperative Extension, (2006, September). Also available as a 44 KB
PDF, 2 pages. Provides an overview of causes of injury, eye protection, and basic first aid.
Talk: Eye Safety. Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health (elcosh). Discusses how and why eye injuries occur in the workplace and what to do to prevent them.
Much Eye Protection Is Enough? Electronic Library of Construction
Occupational Safety & Health (elcosh), (2002, February). Provides help in
determining when more eye protection is needed.
- Eye Safety at Work. Prevent Blindness America. Provides questions and
answers to commonly asked questions about workplace eye safety.
- Emergency Eyewash Equipment [175 KB
PDF, 2 pages]. Manitoba Labour and Immigration, Workplace Safety and Health Division Safe Work Bulletin No. 104, (2002, December). Includes a
summary of the ANSI requirements.
- Eye Injury Prevention Month.
US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Federal Occupational Health
Related Safety and Health Topics Pages
Ensuring worker safety includes providing adequate
training for all workers who require eye and face protection. When employees are
trained to work safely, they should be able to anticipate and avoid injury from
job-related hazards. Examples of available training resources are provided
Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.