Eye and Face Protection

Damage to the eyes and loss of sight is irreversable, so it is important to identify potential eye hazards, select proper eye protection, and enforce its use.  Eye protection is required by OSHA regulation whenever and wherever potential eye hazards exist. Hazards requiring eye and/or face protection include flying particles; molten metal; liquids including acids or caustic materials, biological or radioactive materials; chemical gases or vapors; and potentially injurious light radiation such as lasers, or intense visible light from welding.

Identify And Evaluate Eye Hazards

For laboratory areas, PIs are required to be involved in the hazard assessment process for eye protection use unless eye protection is required for entry into the lab area.)  Identify the hazards using the PPE hazard assessment form, Contact your EHS Coordinator or the EHS Office for assistance.    

Selecting The Correct Type Of Eye Protection

Use this assessment information with eye protection table below to select the equipment. For labs, you can use refer to EyeProtectionGuidance.pdf.  Contact the EHS Office, if needed, for additional guidance.  Types of protective eyewear include:

  • safety glasses: with side shields (built in or clip on)
  • goggles for chemical splash, mist: indirect vents
  • goggles for chips, dust: direct vents
  • faceshield: must be worn with goggles to prevent liquid chemicals from getting into the eyes. Must be worn with safety glasses to prevent chips or other particles from getting into the eyes.

Hazard to the eye, face and neck

Type of Protective eyewear

Contact for advice to select eyewear

Chemical splash, liquid

Lab safety glasses for small amounts of chemicals that are not highly corrosive.

Goggles with indirect vents for larger amounts or for highly corrosive chemicals.

IHP (note 1)

Chemicals, dry

safety glasses

IHP (note 1)

Chips, particles, dust, glass shards

safety glasses with side shields



Safety glasses or Safety goggles with faceshield


Potentially infectious material splash

Safety glasses for small amounts

Goggles and Faceshield

BSP point person for your DLC

Radioactive Materials (liquid or powder)

safety glasses

RPP point person for your DLC


laser glasses and goggles that meet ANSI Z136.1

Contact RPP rep who reviews your laser Note 3

Ultraviolet light

Faceshield that is specially treated

RPP point person for your DLC Note 3

Other light sources


RPP point person for your DLC Note 3

Furnaces, molten metal or glass, heat, sparks, glare

Goggles, Reflective Faceshield.

SP (note 2)


welding goggles, helmet or faceshield

SP/ IHP (note 2)

Note 1: If you will need to wear a full face respirator and prescription glasses, you can order prescription lenses that fit into the respirator, which you order from IHP (Respiratory Protection).

Note 2: If you will need to wear a welding goggle, helmet or faceshield and prescription glasses, you can order prescription lenses that fit into the filter shade lenses.

Note 3Prescription safety glasses can be made with lenses designed for working with lasers. An alternative is to purchase a pair of laser safety glasses that can be used by every laser user. Then some people could wear these over their prescription glasses. Laser safety training is required before using a laser.

Providing Eyewear.

Departments, labs and centers are responsible for providing appropriate protection to anyone who works in, studies in or visits an area where there are hazards to the eyes and/or face.  Eye protection provided must meet the ANSI standard or equivalent (ANSI Z87.1).  Normal prescription glasses do not meet the standard for impact resistance, and should not be used as a substitute for safety glasses.

Non-Prescription Eyewear

VWR and many other safety supply companies sell a wide variety of non- prescription glasses, goggles, etc. Check that the eyewear meets the ANSI Z87 standard or equivalent.

Prescription Eyewear

DLCs must furnish one pair of prescription impact-resistant (ANSI Z87) eyeglasses free of charge to employees whose work requires their use. The supervisor must approve all requests for prescription safety glasses.  Refer to section on prescription safety glasses for how to order. Note:  The price range is $60 - $80 with additional charges for special lenses, frames, tints, etc. 

Use And Maintenance Of Eye Protection.

Wear eye protection in areas where signage indicates it is required, whether you are working, observing or visiting, or in areas or for tasks where you have been instructed eye protection is to be used.   In some circumstances safety glasses or goggles alone may not provide adequate protection; a face shield may also be necessary.   Clean eye protection after use, and store where it can be kept clean until next use.

Refer to PPE SOP for more details on eye protection.

Detailed guidance on eye protection use in laboratories can be found below: