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.

February 4, 2013

Mr. Thomas Buckely
P.O. Box 154
Waukesha, WI 53187

Dear Mr. Buckely:

Thank you for your letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP). We apologize for the delay in our response to you. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. You had specific concerns regarding the use of prescription safety glasses.

Scenario: You are required to wear safety glasses that have prescription lenses. When it was time to have your prescription lens updated or enhanced, you inquired about using the same frame and purchasing new corrective lenses. You have been receiving conflicting information from various optical providers regarding the use of your old safety glass frames. One company stated that it was an OSHA law that you had to purchase a new frame.

Question 1: What is the requirement for updating prescription safety glasses?

Response 1: The general requirement for eye protection are found in §1910.133. The standard includes the requirement that "[t]he employer shall ensure that each affected employee who wears prescription lenses while engaged in operations that involve eye hazards wears eye protection that incorporates the prescription in its design, or wears eye protection that can be worn over the prescription lenses without disturbing the proper position of the prescription lenses or the protective lenses. §1910.133(a)(3), OSHA requires that eye protection must comply with either of two consensus standards incorporated by reference in OSHA's eye protection standard at §1910.133(b). These are Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices, ANSI Z87.1-.1989 and ANSI Z87.1-2003. Either of these consensus standards therefore is relevant to whether your employer may allow you to use your safety glass frames refitted with new lenses as eye protection on the job.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. 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. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry and Agricultural Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.

Sincerely,

Thomas Galassi, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs