Eye and Face Protection (1926.102) was the tenth most-frequently cited agency standard in FY 2019.

Enforcement citations FY 2019: 1,552

Number of inspections: 1,545

Proposed penalties: $3,815,991

Most frequently cited industries:

Specialty Trade Contractors were the most-cited category for this standard, with 1,440 citations stemming from 1,434 inspections, resulting in $3,557,690 in proposed penalties. Next came Construction of Buildings employers, who were inspected 86 times and received 86 citations for violations of the standard, with $201,133 in penalties. Another construction category, Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction, came next, with nine citations, eight inspections and $12,125 in penalties. 

Merchant Wholesalers, Durable Goods employers earned six violations from six inspections and were fined $15,587. Administrative and Support Services operations were inspected four times, resulting in four citations and $12,654 in penalties. There were two inspections of and two citations issued to Waste Management and Remediation Services employers, with proposed penalties totaling $6,203. The categories of Truck Transportation; Wood Product Manufacturing; Telecommunications and Electrical Equipment, Appliance, and Component Manufacturing each had one inspection and one violations, although penalty amounts differed: $6,251, $2,500, $998 and $850, respectively.

Why a standard?

Approximately 2,000 American workers a day suffer avoidable workplace eye injuries that require medical treatment, according to The Vision Council.1 In addition to the physical toll, eye injuries also come at great cost to individuals and businesses in terms of medical bills, workers’ compensation, downtime and lost productivity.

Despite the risks, many workers who may be unaware of the potential hazards in their work environments bypass appropriate precautions to protect their eyes.

One of the key preventive measures: the proper selection and use of eye and face protection, which is designed to prevent or lessen the severity of injuries to workers when engineering or administrative controls are not feasible or effective in reducing these exposures to acceptable levels.


OSHA requires employers to provide eye and face protection to workers who are exposed to workplace hazards that include:

Impact hazards from flying or falling objects such as large chips, fragments, particles, sand, sparks and dirt. Most of these objects are smaller than a pin head and can cause serious injury such as punctures, abrasions, and contusions. Impact hazards can be found in chipping, grinding, machining, masonry work, wood working, sawing, drilling, chiseling, powered fastening, riveting, and sanding.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) for impact hazards: Safety spectacles with side shields or goggles must be worn. During severe exposure to impact hazards, secondary protective devices such as face shields are also required.2

Heat hazards can be found in furnace operations, pouring, casting, hot dipping, and welding.

PPE for heat hazards: Goggles or safety spectacles with special-purpose lenses and side shields. However, many heat hazard exposures require the use of a face shield in addition to safety spectacles or goggles.

Chemical hazards. Chemicals hazards such as splash, fumes, vapors, and irritating mists may occur during acid and chemical handling, degreasing, plating, and working with blood. A large percentage of eye injuries are caused by direct contact with chemicals. Serious and irreversible damage can occur when chemical substances contact the eyes. These injuries often result from an inappropriate choice of personal protective equipment, which allows a chemical substance to enter from around or under protective eye equipment.

PPE for chemical hazards: Goggles must be fitted and worn correctly, and may be supplemented by a face shield, depending on the level of hazard. Additionally, when working with or around chemicals, it is important to know the location of emergency eyewash stations and how to access them with restricted vision.

Dust hazards can be generated by woodworking, buffing, and general dusty conditions.

PPE for dust hazards: Either eyecup or cover-type safety goggles should be worn when dust is present. Safety goggles are the only effective type of eye protection from nuisance dust because they create a protective seal around the eyes.

Optical radiation hazards include radiant energy, glare, and intense light and can be found in welding, torch-cutting, brazing, soldering, and laser work. A laser beam, of sufficient power, can produce intensities greater than those experienced when looking directly at the sun. Unprotected laser exposure may result in eye injuries including retinal burns, cataracts, and permanent blindness. When lasers produce invisible ultraviolet, or other radiation, both employees and worksite visitors should use appropriate eye protection at all times.

PPE for optical radiation hazards: Lenses should be selected based on the maximum power density, or intensity, the lasers in use produce when workers are exposed to laser beams.

Key provisions of the standard

  • Eye protection that includes side protection must be provided when there is a hazard from flying objects (detachable side protectors like clip-on or slide-on side shields are acceptable.
  • The employer shall ensure that each affected employee who wears prescription lenses while engaged in operations that involve eye hazards wears eye protection that incorporates the prescription in its design, or wears eye protection that can be worn over the prescription lenses without disturbing the proper position of the prescription lenses or the protective lenses.
  • Eye and face PPE shall be distinctly marked to facilitate identification of the manufacturer.
  • Eye protection must be “reasonably comfortable” when worn under the designated conditions.
  • They have to fit snugly and shall not unduly interfere with the movements of the wearer.
  • Additionally, they must be durable, easily cleanable and capable of being disinfected.
  • Eye protection must comply with any of the following consensus standards: ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, ANSI Z87.1-2003, ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998).

Compliance assistance

Eye and Face Protection. This eTool provides a comprehensive hazard assessment, information about selecting protective devices for the workplace, as well as OSHA requirements.

Selecting PPE for the Workplace. Provides a hazard assessment to determine the risk of exposure to eye and face hazards, including those which may be encountered in an emergency, and offers controls.

Eye Protection against Radiant Energy during Welding and Cutting in Shipyard Employment. 


  1. https://tinyurl.com/tfrhtfz
  2. https://tinyurl.com/vlvgrk4

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