Some Helpful Tips to Better Understand the Updates to ANSI/ISEA Z87.1

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The Z87.1 American National Standard Practice for Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protective Devices is developed by the Z87 Committee on Safety Eye and Face Protection, which is administered by the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) and approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The most recent changes to this standard were approved in 2015, though the 2010 version is when a major reorganization occurred, significantly changing many areas from the 2003 version and affecting how changes were made to the 2015 version.

The following is a summary of the 2010 revision to this eye and face protection standard and focuses on the key changes to the standard; as people may still have questions about the major changes that the 2010 version of the standard adopted, it does not represent any official or legal interpretation of the standard or even serve as a complete summary of the revision. If questions occur, or for additional details, the revised standard itself should be reviewed and relied on, rather than this summary. For an official copy of the ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010 Standard go to http://www.safetyequipment.org/c/stdz871-2010.cfm.

The 2010 revisions set restrictive design and performance standards while the 2015 revision resulted in changes to adapt to the needs of safety environments and ever-changing technology. We have also provided a short summary of changes relevant to end user’s that resulted in 2015, which can be found at the bottom of this post. We will continue to provide updates if/when ANSI/ISEA makes any changes the next time they are set to update this standard in 2020.

What are the Major Eye and Face Protection Changes that the 2010 Version Made from the Previous (2003) ANSI Standard?

1) The 2010 updates focused on the hazard, rather than on the protector type, in order to encourage safety personnel and users to evaluate and identify specific hazards in their workplace such as impact, optical radiation, splash, dust, and fine dust particles. Therefore, under the revised standard, selection of the appropriate eye and face protective devices should be based on the hazard.

2) The 2010 criteria for compliance focus on impact ratings: The 2003 version described two levels of protection: “Basic” & “High” impact protection. Under the 2010 revision, devices need to be either “Non-Impact Rated” (complying to the impact requirements under “General Requirements”) or “Impact Rated” (complying with more stringent requirements within the revision).

3) Minimum coverage requirements: The 2003 version had no defined minimum coverage requirement. The 2010 revision has a minimum frontal requirement and, for an “Impact Rated” device, a lateral coverage requirement. In effect, this makes lateral coverage mandatory under the standard for an “Impact Rated” device. Here are some other notable new requirements:

– New test for splash/droplet, dust, and fine dust: The 2003 version had no defined performance criteria for splash/droplet, dust, or fine dust. The 2010 revision has specific performance and marking requirements for devices claiming to provide protection from splash/droplet, dust, or fine dust hazards.

– New “Ignition” test: The 2010 revision eliminated the previous (2003) flammability test and replaced it with an ignition test that uses a hot steel rod contacting the protector to determine if the protector will ignite.

– New headform for product testing: The 2003 version used the “Alderson” headform. The 2010 revision adopted the European (CE) small and medium headform size for testing to harmonize with existing international test methods.

4) New markings requirements, include:

– Lens markings: The 2010 revision required a manufacturer’s mark and if the product is “Impact Rated”, a “+” symbol.
Example: “3M” only for a non-Impact Rated product
Example: “3M+” for an Impact Rated product

– The 2010 revision requires “Optical Radiation” scale or shade marking. There are tables and markings for specific lens types (clear, welding, UV filter, visible light filter, and IR filter).
Example: “3M+W3” for a spectacle welding lens with a shade 3.0 welding filter

– Frame markings: The 2010 revision required a manufacturer’s mark plus Z87 and, if the product is “Impact Rated”, a “+” symbol will follow the Z87.
Example: “3M Z87+”

– If the product is NOT “Impact Rated”, the frame will only be marked with the manufacturer’s mark plus Z87
Example: “3M Z87”

5) New section on selection, use, and maintenance: This section provides guidance on hazard assessment and selection. It also includes a selection chart, showing suggested protectors for various types of work activities that can expose the worker to impact, heat, chemical, dust, or optical radiation hazards.

Some of the Notable 2015 Revision Changes

The 2015 revision also reinforced the importance of selecting personal protective equipment (PPE) based on specific hazards where protection is needed, just like the 2010 version standard reorganization sought to do.

Lens markings are the same as the 2010 standard. However, the 2015 version adds language addressing the subject of frame markings. The 2010 version required testing to be completed on lenses 2.0mm-2.2mm thick, but the 2015 revision now requires a minimum 2.0mm thickness without a maximum. The update also clarified prescription and magnified lens testing. It also eliminated minimum thickness requirements for non-prescription readers that meet impact-rated requirements for protectors. The newest revision also removed the dropball test requirement for protectors that already meet impact-rated compliance criteria.

Frames used for an impact-rated protector are marked with Z87-2 + (the lenses would also have a + symbol). Detachable side shields are both marked with Z87+. If the side shields are permanent, they need not be marked.

What Does this Standard Mean for Me/My Business?

The new standard is a voluntary standard and there is no requirement that manufacturers or end users comply. However, in the past, most protective eyewear manufacturers have chosen to comply with the most recent revision to the Z87.1 Standard.

ANSI/ISEA is set to update the standard again 2020 and we’ll seek to keep you updated about any changes that occur. In the meantime, if you have questions or need help with information for eye and face protective products, please contact us at 1-800-243-4630 for assistance.