Understanding the types of eye protection workers need starts with knowing what contributes to or causes eye injuries, as well as how they can be prevented.

Eye injuries can happen because of striking or scraping, penetration of a foreign object as well as chemical or thermal burns (also known as welder’s eye).

  • Injuries from striking or scraping happen when particles or objects become airborne from tools ejecting them, flying objects, or falling from above.
  • Injuries from penetration happen when nails, staples, or other objects go through the eyeball. This can lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Chemicals or cleaning products can splash and cause burns.

Most of these eye injuries can be prevented by wearing the proper PPE. The right kind is based on the specific work being performed, the hazards encountered, and personal vision needs (such as wearing corrective lenses). Speaking with an Arbill Safety Advisor can help identify the best solution for any situation.

In 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded


non-fatal eye injuries in the private industry. Those injuries ranged from superficial eye injuries to the types of severe trauma that can cause permanent damage, vision loss and blindness.

Safety Glasses for Eye Protection

Today’s safety glasses come with sleek, stylish options and technologies that allow for a better, more comfortable fit. That means more consistent, correct wear, for better protection.

3M™ SecureFit™ 100 Series

3M™ SecureFit™ 100 Series

  • Sleek, sporty lens shape
  • Patented temple design self-adjusts to different head sizes
  • Stylish yet comfortable fit for an extended period of time.
3M SecureFit 500 Series Safety Glasses

3M™ SecureFit™ 500 Series

  • Pressure Diffusion Temple (PDT)
  • Self-adjusting temples, Scotchgard™ Protector Anti-fog coating.
Over the glasses safety glasses

Already wearing glasses?

Get over-the-glass protection and all-day wearability with the 3M™ SecureFit™ 3700 Series with adjustable ratcheting temple provides a personalized fit.

Safety Goggles

Safety Goggles

Safety Sunglasses

Safety Sunglasses

Safety Readers

Safety Readers

Headgear and Faceshields

Faceshields & Headgear

Welding Helmets

Welding Helmets

Impact Requirements for Safety Glasses
and Eye Protection

ANSI has established the Z87 standard which is used for safety glasses, safety goggles, side shields and other eye and face protection devices.

According to the ANSI website, “This standard sets forth criteria related to general requirements, testing, permanent marking, selection, care, and use of protectors to minimize the occurrence and severity or prevention of injuries from such hazards as impact, non-ionizing radiation and liquid splash exposures in occupational and educational environments including, but not limited to, machinery operations, material welding and cutting, chemical handling, and assembly operations.”

Z87 vs. Z87+ Standard

The Z87 designation means that the eyewear has been tested for regular impact, and the Z87+ measures high impact, and is what sets it apart from the Z87 standard.

For eye protection to pass Z87+, the lens, frames, and all components must remain intact after undergoing a series of tests, including a high mass test and a high-velocity test.

OSHA reports that workplace eye injuries cost an estimated


a year in lost productivity, medical treatment and worker compensation, and that 90% of eye injuries are preventable.

  • High Mass Testing puts the glasses on a head form and drops a 1.2-pound weight from a height of fifty inches.
  • High-Velocity Testing shoots a one-fourth inch steel ball at various places. The speed will change depending on the glasses being tested with safety glasses = 102mph and safety goggles = 170mph to simulate impacts workers could face. To pass this test, the lens cannot touch the eye when the steel ball is striking it.
  • Penetration/Puncture Testing places a 1.56 oz sharp needle mounted to a weighted projectile and drops it from a test height of fifty inches.

The Z87+ tests are an indicator of the strength of the product and its ability to protect the worker from a variety of workplace accidents like tools falling, collision with an object or airborne particles.

Prescription frames rated for impact protection will have the Z87-2+ marking.

Use Markings for Eye Protection

Eyewear may have use markings indicating droplet and dust protection. Lenses that meet this requirement will have a “D” followed by a number:

  • D3– resistant to droplet and splash
  • D4– resistant to dust
  • D5– resistant to fine dust
Lens designation- U

U– uncoated

Lens designation I/O

I/O– indoor/outdoor

Lens designation AS

AS– anti-scratch

lens designation SGAF/AS

SGAF/AS: Scotchguard™ anti-fog coating/anti-scratch lens

lens designation BC

Base Curve– a higher base curve provides greater wraparound protection and peripheral vision; a high base curve may eliminate the need for side shields

lens designation L

“L”+ a number (1.3 to 10) – the Visible Light Filter rating

Lens Designation R

“R”+ a number (1.3 to 10) – the Infrared Filter rating

lens designation V

“V”– variable tint (or transition) lens designation

lens designation S

“S”– special purpose lens designation

Lens designation U#

“U”+ a number (2 to 6) – the Ultraviolet light scale rating

lens designation W

“W”+ a number (1.3 to 14) – a welding designation, including the lens shade number and the extent to which a welding lens will filter harmful radiation

lens designation H

“H”– coverage for small heads

Optional Enhancements/Features in Eye Protection

  • Lens Color
  • UV Protection
  • Anti-fog/Anti-scratch
  • Articulating / Ratcheting Temples
  • Flexible Nose Bridge
  • Brow Guard
  • Foam Insert / Strap
  • Dielectric
  • Alternate fit models to accommodate various facial structures

Employee Safety Training and Education in the Workplace

To ensure employee safety, it is important that employers establish a clear written policy and appropriately train employees on the proper use of and when eyewear should be worn.

  • Conduct a site / hazard assessment
  • Develop a plan that is site-specific
  • Establish the proper eye protection based on the application
  • Conduct fit testing to ensure proper fit and that there are no gaps or exposed areas
  • Teach employees what PPE they are required to wear and when
  • Train employees how to thoroughly inspect and maintain their PPE
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommended use and warnings
  • Promptly replace damaged or missing eye protection

Get Help with Workplace Safety Compliance

Contact Arbill EH&S Managed Services for help with site assessment and gap analysis, PPE matrix development, safety consulting and training augmentation as well as assisting your organization with additional compliance needs.

Head Protection

Arbill’s team of safety experts can provide Environmental Health and Safety training and services and make recommendations to help you find the right eye and fact protection at the right cost to keep your employees safe.