ANSI Z87.1-2003

Here is a summary of ANSI Z87.1 (2003) Industrial Eyewear Impact Standard

ansi-ANSI is the acronym for the American National Standards Institute, a nonprofit organization that serves as administrator of the United States private sector voluntary standardization system. The primary objective of ANSI is to promote and facilitate voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems. ANSI does not have authority to enforce such standards, but their standards are used by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to be sure that certain safety devices, such as eyewear, provide adequate protection for workers.

The most current edition of Z87.1 standard is 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 gram (1.1 lb) projectile is dropped 50 inches onto the glasses 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. The projectile is a 1/4 inch steel ball traveling at 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 US, 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 references provided by or adapted from Philip M. Johnson, Director of Technology, Sperian Eye & Face Protection, Inc. Original Article located here.

Here is a YouTube video from Oakley demonstrating these ANSI standards on their sunglasses. You can get an idea of how brutal these tests can be for both frame and lenses, and why protection is so important.

Safety eyewear standard also includes the following minimum requirements:

  • Provide adequate protection against the hazards for which they are designed
  • Be reasonably comfortable
  • Fit securely, without interfering with movement or vision
  • Be capable of being disinfected if necessary, and be easy to clean
  • Be durable
  • Fit over, or incorporate, prescription eyewear*

*This is where Blacksburg Eye comes in to help!

Many manufacturers of sports eyewear and other protective eyewear not used in a work environment also comply with the ANSI Z87.1 standard. If you need protective eyewear of any kind, look for products that comply with the ANSI standard or consult with Blacksburg Eye before purchasing.  You only get one set of eyes, let Blacksburg Eye help take care of them!