What does ANSI Z87.1 mean in safety glasses? - HexArmor (2024)

What does ANSI Z87.1 mean in safety glasses? - HexArmor (1)


Of the 300,000 workplace eye injuries each year in the US, it’s estimated that 90% of them would have been prevented if workers had been wearing eye protection.

Workplace eye hazards can be dangerous, which is why wearing the proper safety eyewear is paramount to help mitigate injury. But how do you know if you’re wearing the “appropriate” eye protection?

It starts by looking inside your safety glasses for the “Z87” or “Z87+” mark… and more. This blog will explain what this means and why it’s important.

ANSI Z87.1 requirements

Your safety glasses include several markings that, in short, indicate specific safety ratings as determined by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

ANSI exists to oversee and help develop voluntary safety standards for the US based on a national consensus process. This creates a uniform testing standard and helps hold all manufacturers accountable for the level of safety they deliver in their products.

The ANSI Z87.1 rating was specifically created to help develop a certification system for safety eyewear based on specific hazards encountered in the workplace:

  • Impact
  • Heat
  • Chemicals or Liquid Splash
  • Dust
  • Radiation

Eye protection that’s Z87.1 compliant is marked with “Z87.” All safety eyewear manufacturers should provide product information about how their safety eyewear meets these current standards.

Three main eyewear hazards

We’ll be focusing on the three hazards we most commonly get asked about, along with their testing methods and markings:

  1. Impact
  2. Liquid Splash
  3. Dust

Hazard type

Hazard examples

Common related tasks


Flying objects such as large chips, fragments, particles, sand, and dirt

Chipping, grinding, machining, masonry work, woodworking, sawing, drilling, chiseling, powered fastening, riveting, and sanding


Splash, fumes, vapors, irritating mists

Acid and chemical handling, degreasing, plating, and working with blood


Harmful dust

Woodworking, buffing, and general dusty conditions

From the OSHA website, November 2011

Safety glasses impact testing

The first marking you’ll likely see on your eyewear is “Z87” or “Z87+”. This is the ANSI standard for impact protector requirements which helps ensure safety eyewear provides workers with the needed protection from impact hazards.

For safety eyewear to pass the basic Z87.1 standard, it must pass the Drop Ball Impact Test. This test involves a steel ball (that is one inch in diameter and weighing roughly 2.4oz) being dropped from a test height of 50 inches. For eyewear to pass, the lens and frames must remain intact.

But what about if there's a “+” next to the Z87 marking?

Z87+ means that the eyewear meets a higher impact standard and goes through a much tougher set of tests than Z87.

There are three additional tests for Z87+:

1. High Mass Impact Test

This test consists of dropping a 500-gram pointed weight from a height of about 50 inches (or 4.2 feet) onto lenses that are mounted on a head form. To pass this lens-retention test, no pieces from the frames or lenses may break free or fracture. The high-mass test is a good indicator of a product’s strength and is meant to simulate an impact like a slipping tool that falls onto a worker’s face or a lens collision with a stationary object.

2. High Velocity Impact Test

This test involves a ¼ inch steel ball being shot at 20 different specified impact points. The speed and distance (or velocity) of the tiny steel ball varies, depending on the type of safety eyewear.

  • Safety Glasses – the steel ball is shot at a speed of 102mph
  • Safety Goggles – the steel ball is shot at a speed of 170mph

The pass/fail criteria for the high velocity test is the same as the high mass test with the added criterion that the “eye” on the head form can’t encounter the lens in any way when it’s struck. This test is meant to simulate particles that workers could be exposed to when performing job functions such as grinding, chipping, or machining.

3. Penetration Test (lenses only)

This test includes a weighted needle with a minimum total weight of 44.2g (1.56 oz) dropped from a height of at least 127 cm (50 in).

What does ANSI Z87.1 mean in safety glasses? - HexArmor (2)

Understanding the difference between these two standards is crucial (Z87 vs Z87+).

All HexArmor safety eyewear is tested against and passes the Z87+ standard for high impact.

Safety glasses splash and dust protection

Eyewear that meets the ANSI Z87.1 requirement for droplet (splash) and dust protection will be marked with a code that begins with the letter “D”.

  • D3: Eye protection that provides protection from droplets and splashes are marked with "D3"
  • D4: Eye protection that provides dust protection are labeled with "D4"
  • D5: Eye protection that provides fine dust protection is labeled with "D5"

Liquid splash test misconceptions

Sometimes, there’s confusion about whether safety eyewear is rated for chemical splash. This may stem from an outdated version of the ANSI/ISEA 2010 standard. In this version, the ANSI/ISEA called the test a “chemical splash test.” However, in the Z87.1-2015 standard, the test was renamed the “liquid splash test.”

This is more accurate because the test for splash resistance is simply a liquid splash test. This means liquid in general and nothing specific. It could be water, Coca-Cola, apple juice…you get the idea.

The liquid splash test is a pass/fail test and uses a sheet of reactive paper. The paper is placed on a head form under the eye protection (usually googles) with circles drawn for where the eyes would be and then sprayed with a liquid. If the paper turns color inside those circles, it fails. If not, it passes for liquid splash.

What does ANSI Z87.1 mean in safety glasses? - HexArmor (3)

Adequate protection from splash dust

Safety goggles are intended to protect eyes against dust, splash, and droplet hazards. Goggles form a protective seal around the eyes, preventing liquid, chemicals, or dust from entering under or around the goggles. Ventilated goggles allow air circulation while providing protection against airborne particles, dust, liquids, or light.

Difference between direct and indirect ventilation goggles

In most cases, goggles with a direct vent system will fail this test as liquid is able to get directly through the vent and to the eyes.

Goggles with indirect vent systems will likely pass the liquid splash test (depending on the manufacturer), meaning they provide a safe barrier between the liquids and the eyes beneath and are rated for use with liquid splash hazards.

Product markings explained

Safety eyewear

With safety glasses, you can find markings either on the sidearm of the frames or on the right side of the lens, as shown in the photo below.

If the eyewear passed the high impact standard, you will see a “+” next to the Z87 or W marking on the sidearm or you’ll see a W+ on the lens. “W” is simply the manufacturer’s mark.

What does ANSI Z87.1 mean in safety glasses? - HexArmor (4)


With goggles, the markings will be found on the top of the seal.

What does ANSI Z87.1 mean in safety glasses? - HexArmor (5)

Other markings

Wondering what all the other numbers and letters mean? Here's a quick guide for reference:

What does ANSI Z87.1 mean in safety glasses? - HexArmor (6)

These markings help make the selection process of ANSI Z87.1 safety eyewear easier, so workers are getting the safest eyewear for the job, inevitably helping to increase compliance.

To help companies be better prepared and informed, the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) has prepared a guide to help safety managers and workers properly select and use eye and face protection equipment.

HexArmor® can help

Even if you understand what all the markings mean, you still may need help selecting the right ANSI safety glasses for your application. Check with your safety manufacturer to see how your eyewear is being made, how it scores in the ANSI Z87.1 testing, and what applications your safety eyewear is ideal for.

Plus, all of HexArmor's safety eyewear is Z87+ approved, so you know you're getting the best eye protection on the market - see our safety eyewear technology.

Let us know if you need help or if you're ready to start a trial - our Solution Specialists are ready to work with you. Call 1.877-MY ARMOR or send us a message.

Browse all HexArmor® eye protection

[Originally published in March 2016 but has since been updated]

Quick guide to lens markings
What does ANSI Z87.1 mean in safety glasses?  - HexArmor (2024)


What does ANSI Z87.1 mean in safety glasses? - HexArmor? ›

ANSI Z87. 1 is a standard established by the American National Standards Institute that specifies the requirements for eye protection in the workplace. Safety glasses that meet this standard are tested to provide adequate protection against hazards such as impacts, radiation, and chemical splashes.

What does ANSI Z87-1 mean? ›


This creates a uniform testing standard and helps hold all manufacturers accountable for the level of safety they deliver in their products. The ANSI Z87. 1 rating was specifically created to help develop a certification system for safety eyewear based on specific hazards encountered in the workplace: Impact.

Is ANSI Z87-1 good? ›

The lowest level test is done by dropping a 1-inch steel ball on the lens from about 50 inches. This is like getting hit in the eye with a golf ball being thrown from a few feet away. If a pair of safety glasses pass the first test they meet the Z87. 1 Standard, meaning they are good protection, but not great.

Is ANSI Z87-1 OSHA approved? ›

OSHA is pretty straightforward about their eyewear standards. All safety glasses that are OSHA-approved must be ANSI Z87. 1 certified.

Which must be marked with Z87 1 on the lens and frame? ›

The most common type of eye protection is safety goggles, which must be marked with "z87. 1" on the lens and frame. Safety goggles provide full coverage for the eyes, protecting them from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. They are especially useful for those who are working with or exposed to UV radiation.

What complies with ANSI Z87 1 standards? ›

The ANSI/ISEA Z87. 1 standard sets forth requirements for the design, construction, testing, and use of eye protection devices, including standards for impact and penetration resistance. All safety glasses, goggles, and face shields used by employees under OSHA jurisdiction must meet the ANSI/ISEA Z87. 1 standard.

What is ANSI Z87 1 en equivalent to? ›

EN-166 is the name of the European standard and ANSI Z87. 1 is the American equivalent.

What is a good ANSI rating? ›

It will inform you of the maximum amount of light the projector is capable of producing. Projectors with 1,000 ANSI lumens or more are generally appropriate, although other considerations such as ambient light, screen distance or size, and room size will also influence whether less or more lumens are required.

Do all safety glasses have to be stamped Z87? ›

Depending on when your frames were produced, they can be marked for either standard…but must be stamped with one of the ANSI designations, otherwise they are not safety glasses. The ANSI Z87. 1-2010 standard also stipulates that impact resistance must be identified.

What does ANSI Z87 2 mean? ›

– Z87-2: means the lenses are prescription, and it will be on both temples, as well as the front of the frame. – H: indicates the head size of the glasses, and is typically used to denote those meant for smaller heads.

Do safety glasses expire? ›

Most goggles and safety glasses can technically last up to 3 years, but there is a grey area between when something is usable and when safety has been compromised.

How long should safety glasses be worn? ›

They should be worn whenever you are in an environment that could expose your eyes to harmful particles, chemicals, UV rays, sparks, debris, and so forth. If you are constantly in such environments, then you should be wearing safety glasses all day long.

How to tell if safety glasses are OSHA approved? ›

OSHA's role is just that they enforce the use of them. So, if you're looking for OSHA approved prescription safety glasses, what you actually need are ANSI Z87 rated safety glasses. Safety eyewear that is ANSI Z87 rated is generally compliant with OSHA regulations.

Is there a difference between ANSI Z87 and ANSI Z87-1? ›

ANSI Z87 is a basic standard that outlines the minimum requirements for protective eyewear, including impact resistance and lens thickness. ANSI Z87. 1 is an enhanced version of the standard that builds upon these requirements and includes additional tests and criteria for protection against a wider range of hazards.

What is the ANSI Z87 1 standard? ›

Coverage Requirements

Effective face and eye protection must cover the critical areas susceptible to injuries. ANSI Z87. 1 meticulously defines the minimum coverage requirements, ensuring that protective gear shields the eyes, face, and surrounding areas adequately.

What does R+ mean on glasses? ›

A: R is the designator for the manufacturer (Radians). + indicates the lens meets the impact requirements of ANSI Z87. 1.

What is the difference between ANSI Z87 1 2003 and 2010? ›

1-2003 protective products are marked as providing “Basic” or “High Impact” protection. In the Z87. 1-2010 standard, the products are either non-impact or impact protectors. Products marked as impact protectors must pass all high-impact testing requirements and will be marked as “Z87+”.

What do ANSI standards mean? ›

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private, non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standards and conformity assessment system.

What is code Z87 1? ›

ICD-10 code Z87. 1 for Personal history of diseases of the digestive system is a medical classification as listed by WHO under the range - Factors influencing health status and contact with health services .


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