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Changes to ANSI Standard for Safety Eyewear

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has made some changes to their Z87.1-2003 standard, "Practice for Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices".
The new changes apply mostly to the impact-resistant requirements for non-plano (prescription) lenses. Workers had been complaining that prescription safety glasses were heavy, uncomfortable and unattractive, so compliance was generally low. The new standard separates requirements into two impact categories for prescription lenses: Basic-Impact Level and High-Impact Level. The materials used to make the high-impact lenses are lighter in weight, yet offer more protection than the basic-level impact lenses. This allows the high-impact lenses to be thinner, lighter, and more comfortable. They can thus be fashioned into attractive, stylish and comfortable prescription safety glasses that workers will be more likely to wear.
Another advantage to the new two-category system is that safety directors have more leeway when analyzing job hazards and assigning appropriate safety eyewear for any given job. One worker may not need the high-impact lenses, so basic-impact lenses would be the better choice, while another worker, engaged in a grinding operation, for example, may indeed need the high-impact level safety glasses.
When making either basic-impact or high-impact safety glasses, manufacturers are required by ANSI to use the new ANSI testing requirements. They are as follows:
Basic-Impact Level Prescription Lenses
• Lenses shall be a minimum of 3.0mm thick, except for those lenses having a plus power of 3.00D or greater, which shall have a minimum thickness of 2.5mm (no change from the 1989 standard).
• 100% of glass lenses shall be tested. Plastic lenses can be statistically sampled.
• Basic-impact lenses will not be marked with a "+".
• Protectors with basic-impact lenses will be delivered to the wearer bearing a warning label indicating the protector only meets the basic-impact standard.
High-Impact Level Prescription Lenses
• Lenses must not be less than 2.0mm thick.
• Lenses passing the high-impact test requirement will include a "+" mark.
• Marking of high-impact lenses by a manufacturer with a trademark will include the trademark and the "+". For example, if the lens is trademarked with a "T", then the mark would be "T+".
• Lens shades and tints will continue to be marked with an "S" for special purposes, the shade number and a "V" for photochromic.
• Lenses will be tested to the high-velocity impact test. Lenses fail the test if there is any posterior displacement of the lens completely through the test holder; any fracture of the lens; any detachment of a portion of the lens from its inner surface; or any full-thickness penetration of a lens.
ANSI approved the standard on June 20. It will go into effect in August of this year.
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