How are safety glasses rated?


You may already own a pair of safety glasses, or you’re looking to get your first pair, but are you wondering what the various safety standards mean? Do they provide enough protection for your occupation? Or are you getting too much protection? Let’s go through the major ones, so you’re well-informed about standards and how they pertain to you.

OSHA Compliance

You may often hear of safety standards from here, and it’s a US-based government organization that stands for The Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It doesn’t exactly offer certification but accepts other standards when looking for compliant safety equipment. 

ANSI Standards

OSHA typically accepts ANSI standards, specifically ANSI Z87 standards that protect eyes against projectiles coming in up to certain velocities. In addition, you may see ANSI Z87.1, which covers both impact-rated and non-impact-rated testing. Z87 safety glasses are a common standard with protective eyewear.


When you see the + rating, that means they are completely impact-rated and have impact-rated flat lenses. But, again, it’s simply a higher form of testing, so those who want that additional impact protection should go with it.

Additional ratings

Z87 safety glasses can also continue to provide enhanced protection against droplets.

D3 ratings

Additional protection against droplets and splashes

D4 ratings

Add on dust protection as well as protection covered in D3

D5 ratings

Include fine dust protection as well as protection covered in D3 and D4 ratings


Other protective standards

NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 1971 

These standards are geared towards our firefighters and offer protection and safety ratings related to thermal and environmental hazards. This is also extended into physical and bloodborne pathogen protection.

ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) F803

This is not about offering protection in the workplace but is geared toward those actively playing sports. When you see protective safety glasses with the F803 safety standards, that means those frames can protect against projectiles between 50 and 65.1 mm going at speeds up to 90 miles per hour.

What about International standards?

CSA Z94.3 is similar to ANSI standards but from our neighbors in Canada. When you see this rating, it recognizes protection against flying objects and particles, molten metal and liquid protection, and infrared and ultraviolet protection. 

You may see some frames offering EN166 standards, the European standard for safety glasses, similar to ANSI standards. However, keep in mind that there are much more detailed ratings from EN166, such as EN166F, which covers low energy impact protection against small objects moving at up to 45 meters per second. Other letters mean different impact ratings.

Military Specifications (MIL-SPEC)

It’s not just about protection but certain other components with military standards.

MIL-PRF-32432 and MIL-PRF-31013

These are similar in their standards, except that MIL-PRF-32432 simply consolidates some of the military standards that are inclusive of MIL-PRF-31013. Before heading into the protective standards, there’s a requirement that the eyewear kit comes with some standard equipment such as an instruction manual, cleaning cloth, case, and spare lenses with MIL-PRF-32432. The protection is tested against 0.15 caliber going at up to 660 feet per second velocity. To be clear, both offer almost identical levels of protective standards. 


Another specialized military standard which covers protective gear for aircrew personnel and their helmet visors. These are tested against 0.22 caliber at speeds going up to 560 feet per second.


safety eyewear standards: summary

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)


Protects eyes against projectiles coming in up to certain velocities

NFPA 1971

Offers protection related to thermal and environmental hazards


Protects against eye injuries in sports and recreational activities


Military specifications, including:

International standards

CSA Z94.3

Canadian primary standard for protective eyewear

EN 166

European standard, similar to ANSI standards

How To Know If My Glasses Are Safety Rated

Watch Video

Safety Standards and RX Safety Glasses

In the world of safety glasses, understanding the multitude of safety standards is crucial for ensuring that your eyewear provides the right level of protection for your specific needs. From OSHA compliance to ANSI standards, NFPA, ASTM, and international standards like CSA Z94.3 and EN166, there is a wide array of safety regulations to consider. Additionally, military specifications such as MIL-PRF-32432, MIL-PRF-31013, and MIL-DTL-43511 cater to specialized requirements.

At RX Safety, we offer a wide range of safety glasses that meet these diverse standards, ensuring you can find the perfect eyewear that suits your profession or activity. Don’t compromise on safety – browse our selection and make an informed choice to protect your vision and well-being.


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