Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

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Eye and Face Protection eTool

OSHA Requirements

OSHA Requirements - Man talking on a phone

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, and radiological hazards or mechanical irritants.

Ensuring worker safety includes conducting a workplace hazard assessment and providing adequate training for all workers who require eye and face protection. When employees are trained to work safely, through the following requirements, they should be able to anticipate and avoid injury from job related hazards.

The following OSHA standards provide mandatory requirements and compliance assistance for employers when selecting proper eye and face protection:

The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation. To select PPE for the workplace, see the Hazard Assessment module.

Training Requirements

Employers must provide training for each employee who is required to use personal protective equipment (PPE) in the workplace. [29 CFR 1910.132(f)]

  • Each employee shall be trained to know at least the following:
    • When PPE is necessary.
    • What PPE is necessary.
    • How to properly don, doff, adjust, and wear PPE.
    • Limitations of the PPE.
    • Proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of the PPE.
  • All training should be conducted by a knowledgeable designated person.
  • All required training should be presented in a manner that the employee can understand.
  • Each affected employee shall demonstrate an understanding of the training specified and the ability to use PPE properly, before being allowed to perform work requiring the use of PPE.
  • Employers who allow their employees to wear eye and face protection on a voluntary basis when not required by OSHA or the employer must implement limited provisions of a PPE program. For all other voluntary users, an additional written eye and face protection program that covers proper maintenance procedures must be implemented.


  • When the employer has reason to believe that any affected employee who has already been trained does not have the understanding and skill required, the employer shall retrain that employee. Circumstances where retraining is required include, but are not limited to, situations where:
    • Changes in the workplace render previous training obsolete.
    • Changes in the types of PPE to be used render previous training obsolete.
    • Inadequacies in an affected employee's knowledge or use of assigned PPE indicate that the employee has not retained the requisite understanding or skill.
Emergency Eyewash Station

Written Certification:

The employer shall verify that each affected employee has received and understood the required training through a written certification that contains the name of each employee trained, the date(s) of training, and the subject of the certification.

Handling Emergencies:

  • If an eye injury occurs, quick action can prevent a permanent disability. For this reason:
    • Emergency eyewashes should be placed in all hazardous areas.
    • First-aid instructions should be posted close to potential danger spots.
    • Employees must know where the closest eyewash station is and how to get there with restricted vision.

Eye and face protection must comply with the American National Standards Institute, ANSI Z87.1-1989 standard if purchased after July 5, 1994 or ANSI Z87.1-1968 if purchased before July 5, 1994. [29 CFR 1910.133(b)(1), 29 CFR 1915.153(b) and 29 CFR 1926.102(a)(2)]

  • Eye and face personal protective equipment (PPE) shall be distinctly marked to facilitate identification of the manufacturer. [29 CFR 1910.133(a)(4)]
  • The following minimum requirements must be met by all protective devices. Protectors shall:
    • Provide adequate protection against the particular hazards for which they are designed.
    • Be of safe design and construction for the work to be performed.
    • Be reasonably comfortable when worn under the designated conditions.
    • Fit snugly and not unduly interfere with the movements of the wearer.
    • Be durable.
    • Be capable of being disinfected.
    • Be easily cleanable.
    • Be distinctly marked to facilitate identification only of the manufacturer.
Goggle Protection

Consideration should be given to comfort and fit. Poorly fitting eye and face protection will not offer the necessary protection. [29 CFR1926.102(a)(6)(iii)]

  • Fitting of goggles and safety spectacles should be done by someone skilled in the procedure.
    • Prescription safety spectacles should be fitted only by qualified optical personnel.
  • Devices with adjustable features should be fitted on an individual basis to provide a comfortable fit that maintains the device in the proper position.
  • Welding Protection
  • Eye protection from dust and chemical splash should form a protective seal when fitted properly.
  • Welding helmets and face shields must be properly fitted to ensure that they will not fall off during work operations.

Employees must be trained in the proper care, maintenance, useful life, and disposal of personal protective equipment (PPE). [29 CFR 1910.132(f)(1)(v)]


Maintenance and Care
  • PPE must be used and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition.
  • The use of equipment with structural or optical defects is prohibited. [29 CFR 1926.102(a)(4)]
  • Pitted lenses, like dirty lenses, can be a source of reduced vision. They should be replaced. Deeply scratched or excessively potted lenses are apt to break.
  • Slack, worn-out, sweat-soaked, or twisted headbands do not hold the eye protector in proper position. Visual inspection can determine when the headband elasticity is reduced to a point below proper function.


  • Atmospheric conditions and the restricted ventilation of the protector can cause lenses to fog. Frequent cleansing may be necessary.
  • Eye and face protection equipment that has been previously used should be disinfected before being issued to another employee.
  • When employees are assigned protective equipment for extended periods, the equipment should be cleaned and disinfected regularly.
  • Several methods for disinfecting eye-protective equipment are acceptable. The most effective method is to disassemble the goggles or spectacles and thoroughly clean all parts with soap and warm water.
    • Carefully rinse all traces of soap and replace defective parts with new ones.
    • Swab thoroughly or completely and immerse all parts for 10 minutes in a solution of germicidal deodorant fungicide.
    • Remove parts from solution and suspend in a clean place for air drying at room temperature or with heated air.
    • Do not rinse after removing parts from the solution because this will remove the germicidal residue that retains its effectiveness after drying.


  • 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 rough usage.
  • Items should be placed in a clean, dust-proof container, such as a box, bag, or plastic envelope, to protect them until reissue.

Employers must ensure that employees who wear prescription (Rx) lenses or contacts use personal protective equipment (PPE) that incorporates the prescription or use eye protection that can be worn over prescription lenses. [29 CFR 1910.133(a)(3), 29 CFR 1915.153(a)(3) and 29 CFR 1926.102(a)(3)]

Rx Lenses
  • Workers who wear prescription glasses must also wear required eye protection.
    • Eye and face protection that fits comfortably over glasses is available.
    • Safety goggles and spectacles may incorporate prescription lenses.
  • Contact Lenses
  • Dust and chemicals present additional hazards to contacts wearers. OSHA recommends that workers have an extra pair of contacts or eyeglasses in case of contact failure or loss.

The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation. To select PPE for the workplace, see the Hazard Assessment module.

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