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.

October 13, 1988

Mr. Vince J. Fesi, Jr.
National Accounts Manager
Optics Business Group Gentex
P.O. Box 315
Carbondale, Pennsylvania 18407

Dear Mr. Fesi:

This is in response to your letters of September 6 and 30, 1988, requesting consideration of your integral one piece lens, Gentex Shade 2.0 infrared product, as meeting the intent of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.

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 the Gentex Shade 2.0 infrared spectacle 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 is being used and maintained properly. It is extremely important, however, that the safety spectacle continue to be permanently marked, since this allows employers, employees and our compliance personnel to distinguish it from other types of protective eyewear. In addition, any appropriate warning and/or instructions relative to usage must be made available on the packaging box and on the instructions supplied with the product, and must be such that they will reach the end user (the worker). Otherwise employees could mistakenly use eyewear providing insufficient protection.

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


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

[Corrected 05/28/2004]