The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved the updated Z87.1-2003 "Practice for Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices" standard on Friday, June 20. The standard, which had not been revised since 1989, sets key criteria for minimizing and preventing eye and face injuries.

The Z87.1 standard goes into effect this August. The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) serves as the Secretariat for the Z87 Eye and Face Protection Committee.

"This is a significant development in occupational safety and health, especially since this standard has not been updated in 14 years," ASSE Z87 Eye and Face Protection Vice Committee Chair Dan Torgerson said. "This should help decrease the number of eye and face injuries occurring today in the U.S. significantly."

The new standard addresses general requirements, descriptions and types, testing, marking, selection, care and use of personal eye and face protectors. It covers such eye and face hazards as impact, non-ionizing radiation and chemical injuries in occupational and educational environments, including and not limited to machinery operations, material welding and cutting, chemical handling, and assembly operations.

Z87.1 does not apply to hazardous exposure to X-rays, high-energy particulate radiation, microwaves, radio frequency radiation, lasers, masers and sports. It does carry a new section on warning labels to ensure the eye and face protection equipment used meets the impact test requirements of the standard. It also includes general testing methods such as flammability, penetration, cleanability, haze and more, as well as new information on switching index testing and light tightness testing.

As for respirators, the new standard addresses National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH)-approved respirators, from loose-fitting and tight-fitting for protection from impact hazards and eye irritants, and welding respirators for impact and optical radiation protection.

ASSE will hold a conference call in August to review the new standard, which will be available for purchase in July. To purchase the standard, visit or call ASSE customer service at (847) 699-2929.