Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at

April 16, 1976



Subject: Phototropic Lenses in Safety Eye Wear


This is in response to a copy of a letter addressed to Dr. Duane Polzien, which is a Region VII interpretation of the standards that adopted The American Standard for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection, Z87.1-1968. In addition, it confirms a telephone conversation with a member of my staff.

Your Regional opinion that there must be a hazard or a potential hazard related to any alleged violation of OSHA standards, probably did not consider de minimis violations as discussed in 29 CFR 1903.14- Citations; Notice of De Minimis Violations. OSHA Program Directive #200-36, Subject: De Minimis Notice, dated June 3, 1975, also expands the definition of de minimis.

The different OSHA eye and face protection standards, except for laser protection, requires the eye and face protection equipment to meet the requirements specified in American National Standards Institute, (ANSI), Z87.1-1968, Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection. ANSI Z87.1-1968 is quite implicit in that statement of compliance with the standard must include all performance requirements in their entirety. It is specifically intended that utilization of a portion or a part of the referenced standard is prohibited. Field Information Memorandum #75-43, Subject: Eye Protection, reiterated this policy.

With the above requirements in mind, the Compliance Safety and Health Officer (CSHO) is required to allege an apparent violation of the appropriate eye protection standard where the employee is exposed to machines or operations that present potential eye injury from physical chemical or radiation agents, and the employee is not protected by equipment that meets the requirements of ANSI, Z87.1-1968.

There may be instances where the CSHO may decide that a violation of this standard may warrant a de minimis notice in lieu of a citation due to a violation of a technicality that has no direct or immediate relationship to safety or health.

Your letter to Dr. Polzien is excellent in all respects and indicates a thorough knowledge of the situation. OSHA is required to enforce OSHA standards and the de minimis notice is one way of informing an employer of a violation of a OSHA standard.

Barry J. White
Associate Assistant
Secretary for Regional Programs