- Standard Number:
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.
September 29, 1994
Mr. Daryl R. Ingram Safety and Training Instructor COBB Electric Membership Corporation P.O. Box 369 Marietta, Georgia 30061
Dear Mr. Ingram:
This is in response to your June 20 letter requesting clarification of the 29 CFR Subpart I and Subpart S requirements as they apply to electrical workers who wear glasses. Your question and our reply follow. Please accept our apology for the delay in responding.
Question 1: Can an electrical worker that is exposed to 50
volts or more wear metal frame glasses. (safety or non-safety glasses)?
Question 2: Can an electrical worker under the above
conditions cover metal prescription glasses with non-conductive safety glasses that are designed for that application?
Question 3: Would safety glasses that meet the requirements of
ANSI Z87.1 that have metal screws and metal wire inside the plastic frames be acceptable for the electrical worker?
Question 4: Subpart I and Subpart S plainly states that
corrective spectacles can and shall be covered when there is a chance of injury to the face or eyes from an electrical arc or flash. However, can we render metal spectacles non-conductive by just covering them with another pair of non-conductive safety glasses?
Reply: Protective eye and face devices must comply with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard ANSI Z87.1 as specified in 29 CFR 1910.133(b). This Occupational Safety and Health Administration standard in contained in the Final Rule on Personal Protective Equipment for General Industry published in the Federal Register, Volume 59, Number 66 on Wednesday, April 6, 1994. A copy of this Final Rule is enclosed for your use. Subsequently, corrections and an administrative stay to this Final Rule were published in the Federal Register in Volume 59, Number 128 on Wednesday, July 6, 1994. Copies of these Federal Registers are also enclosed for your use.
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. A copy of the aforementioned Final Rule is enclosed for your use. 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.
We appreciate your interest in employee safety and health. If we can be of further assistance, please contact Ron Davies on 202-219-8031 ext. 110.
John B. Miles, Jr., Director Directorate of Compliance Programs