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 https://www.osha.gov.

April 28, 1988

Mr. Vince J. Fesi, Jr.
National Accounts Manager
Gentex Corporation
PO. Box 315
Carbondale, Pennsylvania 18407

Dear Mr. Fesi:

This is in response to your earlier communications and confirms discussions with members of our staff concerning the eye protection device for which you are seeking a letter of equivalency. A similar product, the Norton 180, has been manufactured by your company, Gentex, for North Safety Products Company for some time, but on April 4, 1988, Gentex, in addition to its manufacturing role, assumed marketing functions for the product. You, therefore, requested reconsideration of your "generic" device in Clear, Dark Green, Grey, and Amber as meeting the intent of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Eye and Face Protection standard. It is our understanding that although the product will carry the Gentex logo, the product will be marketed through your customers, and each one will have its own identifying name and/or style number for the product.

OSHA's standards at [29 CFR 1910.133(b)(2)] provide that ["Eye and face protective devices purchased before July 5, 1994 shall comply with the ANSI 'USA standard for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection,' Z87.1-1968, which is incorporated by reference as specified in Sec. 1910.6, or shall be demonstrated by the employer to be equally effective."] The referenced ANSI standard, however, states in paragraph 2 that "Variations from the requirements of this standard may be granted by the authority having jurisdiction only when it is demonstrated to the satisfaction of the administrative agency that equivalent protection is afforded."

On the basis of the information which you have presented to us, OSHA has determined that your new generic product marked with the Gentex Omnibird logo does provide protection equivalent to that provided by eye protection, which meets all the requirements of ANSI Z87.1-1968. Therefore, OSHA would consider employers using this product to be in compliance with [29 CFR 1910.133(b)(2)], and such employers would not be cited if this equipment was being used and maintained properly.

It is extremely important, however, that the safety spectacle be permanently marked in a manner that would easily allow employers, employees, and our compliance personnel to distinguish it from other types of protective eyewear. In addition, any appropriate warnings and/or instructions relative to usage must be made available on the packaging box, and the instructions supplied with the product must be such that they will reach the end user (the worker). Otherwise, employees could mistakenly use eyewear providing insufficient protection.

In view of the fact the product will be marketed by individual companies, we will provide you with a letter for each one of these companies which specifies the company's product name and marking when we are notified by you that they will be using your generic product.

We request that you provide us with a sample of the product, for each of the companies which will market it, showing the markings which they will use.

If we may be of any further assistance, please let us know.


Thomas J. Shepich, Director
[Directorate of Enforcement Programs]

[Corrected 05/28/2004]