Summary of ANSI Z87.1-2003 Industrial Eyewear Impact Standard

ansiANSI Z87.1 Tests

The current edition of the standard is Z87.1-2003. Lenses in all protectors must at a minimum meet a basic impact requirement: the 1 inch drop ball test. Models can achieve “high” impact levels indicating elevated performance. The following “high” impact tests apply to lenses, as well as to the frames or product housing:

• A lens retention test is conducted via a “high mass” impact. A pointed 500 gm (1.1 lb) projectile is dropped 50 inches onto the complete protector mounted on a headform. No pieces can break free from the inside of the protector, the lens cannot fracture, and the lens must remain in the frame or product housing. This test is a good measure of the product’s strength, simulating a blow such as from a tool that slips from the work surface or when the lens collides with stationary objects.

• A high velocity test is conducted, at 20 specified impact points, where the projectile is a ¼ inch steel ball traveling at specific speeds depending upon the type of protector. For spectacles, the velocity is 150 ft/sec or 102 mph. The pass/fail criteria are the same as for the high mass test, plus no contact with the eye of the headform is permitted through deflection of the lens. This is meant to simulate particles that would be encountered in grinding, chipping, machining or other such operations. In the United States, compliance with the standard is self-certified, based on test results generated by the manufacturer as part of its initial design and ongoing Quality Control procedures. No independent certification is required. Products meeting the basic impact standard shall be marked “Z87” on all major components. Those products which pass the “high” impact tests listed above can carry a “Z87+” marking on the lens(es).

*Above reference provided by Philip M. Johnson, Director of Technology, Sperian Eye & Face Protection, Inc. Original Article


ANSI Z87.1-2003 Summary


1. Two Levels of Protection:

Basic and HighLENSES: The new standard designates that lenses will be divided into two protection levels, Basic Impact and High Impact as dictated by test criteria. Basic Impact lenses must pass the “drop ball” test, a 1″ diameter steel ball is dropped on the lens from 50 inches. High Impact lenses must pass “high velocity” testing where 1/4″ steel balls are “shot” at different velocities.

Spectacles: 150 ft./sec.
Goggles: 250 ft./sec.
Faceshields: 300 ft./sec.

FRAMES: Now, all eyewear/goggle frames, faceshields or crowns must comply with the High Impact requirement. (This revision helps eliminate the use of “test lenses”, and assures all protectors are tested as complete – lenses in frame – devices). After making an eye hazard assessment, employers (safety personnel) should decide on appropriate eyewear to be worn, although High Impact would always be recommended. All of our spectacles are High Impact protectors.

2. Now, Products Must Indicate Impact Protection Level.

To identify a device’s level of impact protection, the following marking requirements apply to all new production spectacles, goggles and faceshields. Basic Impact spectacle lenses will have the manufacturer’s mark, i.e. an AOSafety product will have “AOS” and a Pyramex product will have a “P” etc. Goggles and faceshields will have AOS and Z87 (AOS Z87). High Impact spectacle lenses will also have a plus + sign, (AOS+) or “P+” etc. All goggle lenses and faceshield windows are to be marked with the manufacturer’s mark, Z87, and a + sign (AOSZ87+).

Note: Lenses/windows may have additional markings. Shaded lens may have markings denoting a shade number such as 3.0, 5.0 etc. Special purpose lenses may be marked with “S”. A variable tint lens may have a “V” marking.

3. Sideshield Coverage Area Increased

Sideshield coverage, as part of the lens, part of the spectacle, or as an individual component, has been increased rearward by 10-millimeters via a revised impact test procedure. While side protection in the form of wraparound lens, integral or attached component sideshield devices is not mandated in this standard, it is highly recommended. Further, OSHA does require lateral protection on eye protection devices wherever a flying particle hazard may exist, and flying particle hazards are virtually always present in any occupational environment. All of our non-prescription safety spectacles meet the requirements of OSHA and the new Z87.1 for side protection.

4. No Minimum Lens Thickness Requirement For High Impact Lenses.

The new standard does not have a “minimum lens thickness” requirement for High Impact spectacle lenses. The previous standard required a 2-millimeter “minimum”. However, the protective advantages of wrap-around lenses and the many other advancements in eyewear design have eliminated this need.

Note: Glass lenses still fall into the Basic Impact lens category. The “minimum lens thickness” of 3 millimeters remains in effect for this category.

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