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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.6; 1910.333; 1910.133(a)(2); 1910.133(b)(1); 1915.153; 1915.153(a)(2)

This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any situation not delineated within the original correspondence.

January 29, 2007

Richard Reynolds
206 West Poplar
Box 67
Troy, Kansas 66087

Dear Mr. Reynolds:

This is in response to your recent letters to the Directorate of Enforcement Programs that we received on October 17, 2006. Your questions related to 29 CFR 1910.133 Eye and face protection and 29 CFR 1915.153(a)(2) Eye and face protection.

Your letter states that your employer requires permanent side shields for your safety glasses. However, when you read the aforementioned standards, you see that they both state, "Detachable side protectors (e.g., clip-on or slide-on side shields) that meet the pertinent requirements of the section are acceptable." You asked OSHA to clarify this discrepancy.

Your reading of 29 CFR 1910.133(a)(2) and 29 CFR 1915.153(a)(2) is correct. Detachable side protectors (e.g., clip-on or slide-on side shields) that meet the pertinent requirements of the section are allowed by these standards. However, employers can require their employees to have protection above and beyond the OSHA standard(s). Therefore, as a general policy your employer can require its employees to have permanent side shields for their safety glasses. Ultimately, the determination of requiring personal protective equipment that exceeds the OSHA requirements would be a matter for labor-management negotiation to which OSHA would not be a party.

In your second letter you indicate that you are not able to find tinted permanent shields with adjustable nose pads that accommodate your special needs. (You state that you are not able to wear a fixed bridge.) OSHA does not promote or endorse private companies. But we suggest you search for companies specializing in safety glasses with tinted shields by using the popular internet search engines using keywords such as "welding + side shield." You may need to contact these companies directly, e.g., their customer service departments, to discuss with them your specific needs.

Your last question asked if you could paint the side shields of your safety glasses with a flat, non- reflective paint. OSHA's standard 29 CFR 1910.133(b)(1) states, "Protective eye and face devises purchased after July 5, 1994 shall comply with ANSI Z87.1-1989, 'American National Standard Practice for Occupational and Education Eye and Face Protection,' which is incorporated by reference as specified in 1910.6, or shall be demonstrated by the employer to be equally effective." Therefore, any modification made to the glasses would need to meet the specifications in the aforementioned ANSI standard to be in compliance with the OSHA standard.

We hope you find this information helpful and appreciate your interest in occupational safety and health. 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 Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.


Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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