Eye and Face Protection laws & safety compliance analysis

Eye and Face Protection: What you need to know


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to ensure the safety of all employees in the work environment. Eye and face protection must be provided whenever necessary to protect against chemical, environmental, and radiological hazards or mechanical irritants.

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Personal protective equipment (PPE) for the eyes and face is designed to prevent or lessen the severity of injuries to workers. The employer must assess the workplace and determine if hazards that necessitate the use of eye and face protection are present or are likely to be present before assigning PPE to workers. Employers must also provide adequate training for all employees who require eye and face protection (29 CFR 1910.132).

29 CFR 1910.133

Protection needed for hazards. Employers are responsible for requiring employees to wear proper eye or face protection when working in areas with the potential for hazards caused by:

  • Flying particles (impact hazards)
  • Molten metal
  • Liquid chemicals
  • Acids or caustic liquids
  • Chemical gases or vapors
  • Potentially infected material
  • Potentially harmful light radiation

OSHA requires that employers assess the hazards faced by their employees in order to determine the appropriate eye and face protection for the job. Employers must also pay for most PPE, with some exceptions. For information on properly assessing workplace hazards and employer payment provisions, see the PPE Regulatory Analysis.

Criteria. OSHA mandates that eye and face protection must satisfy the requirements of any of the following American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards: ANSI Z87.1-2010, ANSI Z87.1-2003, or ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998), unless the employer can demonstrate that the protection is at least as ...

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