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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

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November 14, 1979



ATTENTION: Herbert M. Kurtz
Assistant Regional Administrator for Technical Support
Acting Field Coordinator
Director, Federal Compliance and State Programs
SUBJECT: Photochromatic/Phototropic (Variable Tint) Lenses in Safety Eye Wear.


Any lens that dose not pass the drop test as required by ANSI Z87.1-1968 is in violation of 29 CFR 1910.133 and shall be cited as an alleged violation. However, the new Z87.1-1979 version in Article addresses the variable tint lens (copy enclosed) forbidding its use indoors entirely and allowing its use outdoors in the absence of hazardous ultraviolet or infrared radiation.

The variable tint lenses do not meet the requirements of the American National Standard for Occupational and Educational Eye Face Protection, Z87.1-1968, referenced in 29 CFR 1910.133(a)(6), and 29 CFR 1926.102(a)(2) in at least one important respect, viz. they can not be assigned a Z87.1 shade (tint) designation due to their constant change in depth of tint (shade). The lenses would also have to meet the detailed requirements in Article 6.3.3 of lens thickness, marking, transmittances of ultraviolet and infrared radiations, and lens strength.

In regard to establishing a de minimis violation, the Field Operation Manual, Chapter VIII and the OSHA Instruction CPL 2 11A (formally identified as Program Directive 200-67, Revision 1) provide the appropriate guidelines. In this regard, due consideration should be given to the outdoor use permitted by Z87.1-1979, provided there is no ultraviolet or infrared hazard.