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 http://www.osha.gov.

December 30, 1993

MEMORANDUM FOR:     LINDA R. ANKU
                   REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR

FROM:               ROGER A. CLARK, DIRECTOR
                   DIRECTORATE OF COMPLIANCE PROGRAMS

SUBJECT:            Eyeglasses with Exposed Metal Parts

This is in response to your memorandum of July 17, 1992, requesting clarification of 1910.333(c)(8) as it may apply to eyeglasses with exposed metal parts. Please accept our apologies for the extensive delay in responding.

Eyeglasses with exposed metal parts are considered "Conductive apparel". As noted in the middle of column 2 of page 32007 of the preamble published in Volume 55, Number 151 of the Federal Register on Monday, August 6, 1990, the Electrical Safety Related Work Practice standard at 1910.333(c)(8) prohibits employees from wearing conductive objects in a manner presenting an electrical contact hazard. Normally, the wearing of eyeglasses containing exposed metal frames (or metal parts of frames) is not considered to present an electrical contact hazard. However, when the glasses have a metal type frame and the employee is working with his or her face extremely close to energized parts or when a metallic chain strap is attached to the frame for wearing around the neck, an electrical contact hazard can be present. In such cases, the standard permits the hazard to be removed by eliminating the chain and wearing either a protective face shield or appropriate safety glasses over the metal frame optical glasses.