EHS Administration

The Rules Have Changed: OSHA’s Updated Eye and Face Protection Rule Is Meant to Make Compliance Easier

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) are not regulatory agencies; they are consensus standards-setting agencies. But OSHA has just updated its eye and face protection rules to reference the latest ANSI/ISEA standards. In addition, OSHA has revised significant portions of the construction industry eye and face protection standards with the intent of making compliance easier for employers.

Here’s a summary of the changes.

The Updated Standard References

OSHA’s eye and face protection standards require employers to ensure that employees use eye and face protection where necessary to protect against flying objects, splashes, or droplets of hazardous chemicals, and other hazards that could injure the eyes and face. On March 25, 2015, OSHA updated its eye and face protection rules for general industry, maritime, and construction employers. The protection that general industry and maritime employers provide were required to meet the requirements of ANSI Z87.1-2003, ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998), or ANSI Z87.1-1989, which are incorporated by reference into the applicable OSHA standards. Construction employers were required to provide eye and face protection that met the requirements of ANSI Z87.1-1968.

The updated standards incorporate the latest ANSI/ISEA standard on Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection Devices, ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, by reference, and remove the oldest ANSI version of the same standard (Z87.1-1989). The final rule also updates the construction standard to delete the reference to ANSI Z87.1-1968 and to include the same three consensus standards incorporated into the general industry and maritime standards.

Changes to the Construction Rules

In addition, OSHA has modified the construction standard extensively—but not substantively—to make it more consistent with the general and maritime industry standards. The intent of this modification is to make compliance easier for employers that perform work that is covered both by the construction standard and another of OSHA’s standards. Some provisions have been removed.

The changes to the construction standards include:

  • Placing language from the general industry standard, Sections 1910.133(a)(1) through (a)(4) and 1910.133(b), in Sections 1926.102(a)(1) through (a)(3), and 1926.102(a)(7).
  • Replacing the scope section in Section 1926.102(a)(1) with the scope section in Section 1910.133(a)(1).
  • Replacing the reference to the 1968 ANSI standard in Section 1926.102(a)(2) with the updated list of national consensus standards in Section 1910.133(b)(1).
  • Replacing the requirements for corrective lenses in Section 1926.102(a)(3) with the corrective-lens requirements in Section 1910.133(a)(3).
  • Removing the requirements in Section 1926.102(a)(4) to keep protective equipment clean, in good repair, and free of structural and optical defects because these are addressed by requirements in each of the three versions of the Z87.1 standard.
  • Deleting Table E-1, Eye and Face Protector Selection Guide, which is specific to the 1968 version of ANSI Z87.1, and renumbering Tables E-2 and E-3 as Tables E-1 and E-2.
  • Substituting the marking requirement specified by Section 1926.102(a)(7) with the marking requirement in Section 1910.133(a)(4).
  • Removing the requirement in Section 1926.102(a)(8) that employers transmit information from manufacturers to users about equipment limitations or precautions and that such limitations and precautions must be strictly observed.
  • Adding a provision to the construction standard that permits an employer to use eye and face protection not manufactured in accordance with one of the incorporated ANSI Z87.1 standards if the employer can demonstrate that the equipment is at least as protective as equipment manufactured to comply with one of the incorporated ANSI Z87.1 standards (i.e., the equivalent-protection provision, which is already found in the general industry and maritime standards).
  • Redesignating Section 1926.102(b) as Section 1926.102(c).

OSHA has retained provisions unique to the current construction standard that are not covered in the versions of the consensus standards incorporated by the proposal.

Employers are not required to update or replace protection devices solely as a result of this rule.

Do you need to know more about OSHA’s requirements for eye and face protection? Look it up at®.

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