What is the OSHA Standard for Safety Glasses?

Understanding OSHA Standard for Safety Glasses

There are many occupations in the United States that place employees in the presence of dangerous machinery or hazardous materials. Up until 1970, there were no safety standards that required companies to make sure that their employees were safe or that they were protected from health hazards. However, in 1970, Congress was confronted with a few troubling statistics.

In a single year, there were 1400 worker deaths due to job-related accidents. There were nearly 2 and a half million workers disabled as a result of their occupation, and an estimated 300,000 cases of occupational disease. There were ten times as many days lost to job-related disabilities as strikes. Between the loss of production, medical expenses, and disability compensation, the nation was facing a crisis. Accordingly, Congress got to work addressing the issue.

What is OSHA?

In 1979, the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed by Congress to make sure that all employees were provided with safe and healthy working conditions, without fear of bodily harm or exposure to health hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created to standardize safety requirements and regulate companies to make sure their employees were protected.

Since it was formed, OSHA has reduced work-related fatalities by more than 50%. It has also reduced overall injury and illness rates. This organization has made safe working conditions a standard requirement that employees can expect at every job they have. It has also given them a way of taking recourse against a company if they fail to provide all of the equipment and other measures that are needed to maintain a safe workplace.

OSHA is run through the Department of Labor. The Department of Labor regulates and enforces over 180 federal laws that cover the workplace premises and activities of an estimated 10 million employers and 125 million workers.

What Kind of Safety Standards Does OSHA Require?

The simple answer to this question is that employers are required to provide a workplace free of any known dangers. In practice, there are rules depending on the industry your company falls under and what hazards might be associated with the type of work employees are doing. It also allows employees to:

  • Receive information and training about workplace hazards, ways to keep themselves from getting hurt, and the overall OSHA standards their company is held to. The training also has to be in a language the employees can understand;
  • Employees can observe testing to their workplace designed to find hazards, and they can view the results.
  • Records of work-related injuries and illnesses have to be available for employee review.
  • Employees are allowed to get copies of medical records pertaining to workplace injuries or illnesses.
  • Employees can request that OSHA come in and inspect their place of work whenever they would like.
  • Employees are allowed to utilize OSHA as a resource without fear of repercussions from the company.

What is the OSHA Standard for Safety Glasses?

In spite of the fact that OSHA requires that a workplace be safe for employees, that doesn’t mean that a workplace must be completely free of hazards. It means that the company must provide equipment and training to protect their employees from those hazards. A great example of this is safety glasses. An employer has to make sure that every employer who works around a potential eye or face hazard has proper protection. Specifically, if an employee is working around any of the following substances, they have to wear safety glasses:

  • Flying particles
  • Molten metal
  • Liquid chemicals
  • Acids or caustic liquids
  • Chemical gases or vapors
  • Potentially injurious light radiation

How to Select OSHA Approved Safety Glasses

Employers can’t simply hand out a pair of safety glasses to their employees at the door and hope for the best. There is a strict set of rules for selecting the face and eye protection that complies with OSHA’s eye and face protection standard, 29 CFR 1910.133. For starters, eye protection has to be customized based on the hazard that it’s meant to protect employees from. Safety glasses that will protect an employee from impact might not adequately protect them from harmful dust, for instance. All personal protective equipment (PPE) has to be certified by the American National Standards Institute and the manufacturer has to legibly mark it as certified.

How to Make Sure Employees Are Using OSHA Standard Safety Glasses Properly

Employees have to be trained on all of the following topics when presented with their safety glasses:

  • Why the face and eye protection is necessary
  • How improper fit, use, or maintenance of their face and eye protection can compromise its effect
  • What the safety glasses can and cannot protect against
  • How to use safety glasses in an emergency
  • How to inspect their safety glasses for damage, put them on, and remove them efficiently
  • How to properly maintain and store their safety glasses
  • What medical signs and symptoms they need to watch for if they will prevent effective use
  • The general requirements of OSHA’s eye and face protection standards.

Additionally, employees who have to wear corrective lenses will need to either purchase prescription safety glasses or modify their own glasses to comply with PPE certified equipment, although typically it’s easier to order a pair of prescription safety glasses. That takes the guesswork out of the equation. Employers are also responsible for providing an effective storage method that maintains the safety glasses so they continue to provide protection.

If you are looking for prescription safety glasses for your employees, RX Safety has all the options you’ll need to make sure that every employee is protected from workplace hazards. You can take a look at all of our certified prescription safety eyewear here! And if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us, our experts would be happy to help.

  1. whit Reed says:

    is it an OSHA violation if employees are wearing their safety glasses on their head, and not exactly on the eyes, as required?

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