Browsing through a safety glasses selection, you’re likely to see Z87 on some of the glasses. What does Z87 stand for? Is it simply the piece number to identify a glasses piece when you call customer support? Or does it mean something else?
When assessing whether safety glasses meet a certain standard which ensures that they will effectively and without a doubt prevent injuries resulting from safety hazards, there are many different standards, in many different countries. In the United States, the minimum standard required for occupational and industrial uses is the ANSI Z87.1-2010. This standard has been around for approximately forty years, and its latest revision was in 2010.
This minimum standard takes into account many potential hazards, and requires all certified glasses to be able to withstand all of them. Such hazards include impacts, radiation, chemicals, and hazards resulting from welding. The ANSI Z87.1-2010 also includes a Z87+, which means that unlike a standard Z87 certified pair of glasses, which is only certified to withstand basic impacts, a Z87+ can withstand high impacts. Nowadays, however, a standard Z87 certified pair of glasses is rated “non-impact” while a Z87+ pair is “impact rated.”
The ANSI Z87.1-2010 is also designed to give consumers an idea about which hazards a particular pair of glasses has been tested to withstand, by having a basic and simple system in place to rate each individual pair of glasses.
Here are some of the designations in the ANSI Z87.1-2010 system:
All these markings must be displayed permanently, on the front of the glasses frame and on the temples.
In order for a pair of glasses to be Z87+ certified, they must go through the following two tests.
Although the latest Z87 version is from 2010, OSHA may also accept the previous two versions, namely from 2003 and 1989, as well as other certifications, if the manufacturer can prove that they meet the Z87 standards. Certification is not done by an independent, outside inspector; it is done by the manufacturers themselves.
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