WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT...ANZ87.1

By Rick Tinson
Since OSHA recognizes the last three revisions of Z87.1 (or any standard that can be shown to be at least as stringent), Z87.1 is essentially the “law of the land.” OSHA recognizes the 2003 revision, and the 1998 version. ANSI has also published a 2010 version that OSHA has yet to officially recognize, but will accept, since it can be shown to be at least as stringent as the 2003 standard.

ANSI Z87.1 requires that all components be marked consistent with the standard. That means, for example, that you can’t choose to have a 2010 frame with 2003 lenses. Since frame and lens marking requirements have changed in each of the last three revisions, it turns out that the deciding factor as to which revision of the standard you use depends upon how the frame is marked. The basic requirement is that someone should be able to look at the completed protector, and determine from the markings on the frame what level of protection it offers. That’s not possible if you mix and match components from different revisions.

If the frame is marked “Z87”… then the pre-2003 version of ANSI Z87.1 applies. Lenses should be dropball tested and monogrammed. The minimum thickness of 3.0mm applies (2.5mm if over +3.00 power).

If the frame is marked “Z87-2”… then the 2003 version of ANSI Z87.1 applies. Lenses should be dropball tested and monogrammed. The minimum thickness of 3.0mm applies (2.5mm if over +3.00 power). If a lens is sold as “High Impact”, a 2.0 mm minimum thickness can be used if the material/coating combination has been qualified by high-impact testing (which generally must be sent out…not capable of testing via dropball). High-impact lenses must have “+” in addition to monogram.

If the frame is marked as “Z87-2+”… then the 2010 version of ANSI Z87.1 applies. Lenses must be able to pass dropball and monogrammed. The minimum thickness of 3.0mm applies (2.5mm if over +3.00 power). Impact testing must be performed for all material/coating combinations. Retention testing must be performed for all material/coating/bevel type combinations. If a lens is sold as high-impact, the material/coating combination must pass high-impact testing at 2.0 – 2.2 mm, material/coating/bevel type combination must pass retention testing, be marked with a “+”, and be monogrammed. It is important to note that because of the new retention testing requirements for any frame marked as “Z87-2+”, an ECP who edges their own lenses must do the retention testing. This new requirement, in response to the 2007 McMahon study, may make it impractical for an ECP or small lab to do their own edging of safety protectors. If you edge lenses into a “Z87-2+” frame without doing the retention testing, you could expose yourself to liability.

Since high impact and retention testing require the use of expensive head forms and precise testing equipment, that testing must be generally contracted out. It is not practical for most labs or ECP’s to perform this testing in-house.

Given the confusion surrounding frame markings and lens requirements, a lab providing safety protectors really needs to have copies of the latest 3 ANSI Z87.1 publications. The lab needs to know which standard applies based on the frame markings. An ECP should edge safety lenses only with great caution. ECP’s and labs may wish to restrict the number of material/coating/bevel type combinations offered in order to reduce the number of configuration that need to be tested. It is believed that over 50 percent of Rx-able safety frames sold in the US are now marked with “Z87-2+”.

For questions regarding ANSI Z87 requirements and regulations, contact Rick Tinson, The Vision Council’s technical director for the Optical Lab Division at rick.tinson@hoyavision.com


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August/September LabTalk 2017