Understanding The OSHA Final Rule On Eye/Face Protection

osha eye protection

What You Need To Know About The Final Rule On OSHA Eye/Face Protection

For employers in construction and general industry, it’s important to note that your safety programs needed to reflect OSHA eye/face protection standards as of April 25, 2016.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s final rule reflects updated national consensus standards to ensure workers have access to the most up-to-date eye and face personal protective equipment (PPE).

Updated General Industry Standards For Eye And Face Protection

The Occupational Safety and Health Standard for Personal Protective Equipment, Eye and Face Protection covered under General Industry, 1910.133  has been updated to delete and replace the ANSI standard reference ANSI Z87.1-1989 with an updated consensus standard, ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010. The Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices standard helps employers select eye and face PPE based on requirements for use, testing, and maintenance of equipment that protects against eye and face injuries from impact, chemical exposure, and non-ionizing radiation.

References to previous ANSI standards, ANSI Z87.1-2003 and ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998) remain in the OSHA rule, giving employers the option to use eye and face protection devices that comply with any one of the consensus standards. Alternatively, employers may use different protection devices if they can demonstrate they are “at least as effective” as those recommended in one of the three ANSI standards incorporated by reference.

OSHA believes that PPE meeting the ANSI 2010 standard is already available on the market and in use by most employers, and that the standard is “not less protective” than prior versions. Amending the OSHA standard allows for the use of up-to-date protection.

Updated Construction Standards For Eye And Face Protection

Employers in the construction industry who are currently covered by OSHA standard 1926.102 for Eye and Face Protection will notice a more significant change to ANSI standards.

The current ANSI Z87.1-1968 standard, incorporated by reference, will be deleted and replaced by the same three consensus standards used in the general industry rule, 1910.103. These include ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010, ANSI Z87.1-2003 and ANSI Z87.1-1989 (R-1998), and like the general industry standard, the construction industry will be able to select PPE that complies with one of these standards, or that can be demonstrated at least as effective.

Further, certain language in the OSHA construction standard is being modified to match that in the general industry standard, although certain provisions specific to the construction industry will remain unchanged.

What Do These Changes Mean For Your Business?

In all likelihood, not much. OSHA confirmed that businesses would not be required to replace protective equipment based on this rule, and that there are no new compliance obligations. The rule simply updates the OSHA standards with the most current national industry standards to ensure employers have up-to-date guidelines for selecting and using eye and face protection.

If you need an expert review of your company’s compliance with OSHA eye/face protection standards, contact Optimum Safety Management at 630-759-9908.