Environmental Health and Safety

Effective Date: 11/03/00

Policy Statement 1: Eye and Face Protection


Required for Students and Instructors

University policy on eye and face protection is derived from two items of legislation enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly. The first act: "Policy for Eye and Face Protection," passed in 1969, requires that eye protection devices be worn by students and instructors in shops and laboratories where work involves:

  1. Hot solids, liquids, or molten metals; or

  2. Milling, sawing, turning, shaping, cutting or stamping of any solid materials; or

  3. Heat treatment, tempering, or kiln firing of any metal or other materials; or

  4. Gas or electric arc welding; or

  5. Repair or servicing of any vehicle; or

  6. Caustic or explosive chemicals or materials.

Eye protective devices are to be worn at all times while participating in any of the above programs and shall be furnished free of charge to the student and instructor.

Required for Visitors

This act also provides that visitors to such shops and laboratories shall be furnished with and required to wear eye protection while such programs are in progress.

Required for Employees

The second item of legislation, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina (OSHANC), became applicable to the University as of August 1, 1974. OSHANC states that:

Protective eye and face equipment shall be required where there is a reasonable probability of injury that can be prevented by such equipment. In such cases, employers shall make conveniently available a type of protector suitable for the work to be performed, and employees shall use such protectors. No unprotected person shall knowingly be subjected to a hazardous environmental condition. Suitable eye protectors shall be provided where machines or operations present the hazards of flying objects, glare, liquids, injurious radiation, or a combination of these hazards.


Laboratory Rules

  1. Protection devices must be worn in all laboratories at all times.

  2. Goggles or face shields, must be worn in all laboratories when work involving a splash hazard is in progress (when hot liquids, or flammable, corrosive or caustic chemicals are being used).

  3. The responsibility for wearing eye protection during a particular laboratory session lies with the faculty member in charge of the laboratory operation.

  4. Where there is an explosive (or implosive) hazard, eye and face protection devices must be worn.

  5. The above rules apply equally to employees, students, and visitors.

Rules for Shops

Eye protective devices must be worn when hazardous operations, including operation of power tools, pouring of molten metal, welding, soldering, etc., are in progress. The wearing of safety glasses in shops at all times is encouraged. This rule applies to employees, students, and visitors.

Rules for Maintenance and Construction

Eye protective devices must be worn by all employees operating power tools and during hammering, chipping, and cutting operations. Eye protection is also required for other persons exposed within the area of these operations.


Equipment Standards

The North Carolina legislation specifies that eye and face protective devices, which include spectacles, goggles, and face shields, shall comply with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) F87.1-1968 and later revisions thereof. All eye and face protective devices currently on State Contract meet ANSI standards.

Selection of Appropriate Devices Based on Hazard

The type of device required will depend on the nature of the hazard and the frequency with which it is encountered. There are three basic types of eye protection which will meet the majority of University maintenance, shop, and laboratory requirements. These are safety spectacles (with or without side shields), dust goggles, and chemical or splash goggles. Each of these meet the basic eye protection standards for frontal exposure to flying particles.

Side Shields

Safety spectacles with side shields, or goggles, are required if flying particles are likely to enter at an angle, and are usually required where two or more people are working in close proximity. Safety spectacles with permanently attached side shields, or dust goggles, will provide this protection. Clip-on side shields do not meet ANSI standards.

Splash Goggles

Safety splash goggles are required to provide protection against corrosive or hot liquids or fine particles capable of penetrating the ventilation holes in dust goggles. A face shield may be required in addition to splash goggles.

Selection Based on Frequency of Use - Dust Goggles

Dust goggles are the least expensive approved eye protection devices available, fit most head sizes and facial shapes, and may be worn over ordinary spectacles. They are recommended for visitors, employees, and students who require eye protection periodically for short durations (less than two hours per day).

Safety Spectacles

Safety spectacles are generally more comfortable than goggles and are therefore recommended for employees and students who require eye protection frequently and/or for long durations (more than two hours per day).

Prescription Safety Spectacles

Several years ago the Federal Food and Drug Administration passed regulations requiring impact-resistant lenses for all eye wear. Although these "safety lenses" are a marked improvement over the old style lenses which were likely to splinter on impact, they do not meet ANSI standards for industrial quality safety spectacles. Therefore, prescription safety spectacles are recommended for employees wearing glasses who require eye protection frequently and/or for long durations (more than two hours per day). Prescription spectacles with or without side shields are available by processing a purchase order and approval of the Safety Director.

Photogray Lenses

Photogray lenses are not approved for indoor use because the percentage of light transmitted under normal room light conditions is below ANSI standards. Photogray lenses will only be provided for employees needing eye protection whose job assignments are largely out-of-doors .

Contact Lenses

The National Society for the Prevention of Blindness strongly advises that the use of contact lenses of any type by industrial employees while at work be prohibited, except in rare instances. The Society recommends that any exceptions be verified in writing by the physician or optometrist who sanctions such use in a specific industrial environment. Contact lenses do not protect the portion of the cornea they cover; furthermore, vapors, liquids, and dust particles tend to creep behind the lens.

Face Shields

Face shields do not meet eye protection standards and are only for face protection. Appropriate eye protection devices must be worn under the face shield.


Providing Protection

The University is committed to a policy of providing eye and face protective devices without cost to employees, students, and visitors. Each department is responsible for the funding of its eye and face protection program.

Eye Examinations

Scheduling and payment for eye examinations to obtain prescriptions for safety glasses are the responsibility of the employee and/or student .

Return of Protective Devices

Eye protective devices issued to employees, students, and visitors remain the property of the University and are to be returned when the use of the devices is no longer necessary. For students this will normally be at the end of each semester and for employees it will be on termination of employment or change in duties where eye protection is no longer required. The disposition of prescription glasses shall be determined by the department.

Replacement of Damaged Devices

Glasses damaged during normal wear and use will be replaced without charge at the discretion of the department head or designated administrative officer.

Replacing Lost Devices

Replacement of lost or stolen devices will be the responsibility of the employee or student to whom they were issued.

Disinfection Before Reissuance

Eye protective devices must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before being issued to another person. Procedures for disinfection are available from the Environmental Health and Safety Office.


Eye Wash Facilities

Every laboratory or work place using caustic and/or corrosive chemicals shall have immediate access to emergency eye wash facilities .

First Aid Chemical Burns

When the eye has received chemical irritation, the preferred first aid is to flood the eye with water immediately for at least 15 minutes and then seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Neutralizers or other medication should be used only by a physician.