ANSI Z87 and Z87+… What’s the difference?

No, that little number Z87 on the inside of the arm of your safety glasses is not the part number (We get at least 2 or 3 calls a month from customers who give us the Z87 number, believing it to be the part number of the glasses that they are holding), it’s the number that lets you know that the glasses you are holding are rated and pass the Z87 standard from ANSI for eye protection.

You may have noticed, however, that recently the Z87 sometimes has a little “+” sign after it. What does that mean?

Since 2003, the ANSI Standard for eye protection began adding a new rating, or rather dividing the standard in two: high impact (Z87+) and basic impact (Z87).

Z87+ or High impact standard glasses must pass a much more stringent set of tests than the basic or Z87 impact standard.

Z87+ glasses must pass the “high mass” test which consists of dropping a 500 gram pointed weight from a height of about 5 feet onto the lens. It also must pass the test of having a ¼” steel ball shot at the lens. The velocity varies which the product (glasses = 102 mph from a distance of 150′, goggles = 170 mph from a distance of 250′ and 205 mph from a distance of 300ft).

The bottom line is that the high impact standard (the Z87+) offers much better protection. If you are going to wear eye protection it may certainly be worth your while to get the added protection.

16 thoughts on “ANSI Z87 and Z87+… What’s the difference?

  1. Steve… there are no specific requirements specific to tree trimmers. As long as the glasses are ANSI certified and the prescription glasses aren’t glass lenses, you’re fine.

    Deb… Yes, if an OSHA inspector comes through your facility he’s going to be looking for the ANSI marking on the safety glasses. OSHA doesn’t set the standard, ANSI does so OSHA looks for the ANSI approval.

  2. Anonymous

    ” The velocity varies which the product (glasses = 102 mph from a distance of 150′, goggles = 170 mph from a distance of 250′ and 205 mph from a distance of 300ft).”

    What difference does it make how far away the projectile is, when it’s fired? All that matters is the IMPACT speed. You could fire Projectile A from 50 light years away and Projectile B from 1 inch away, and if both projectiles are traveling at the same speed when they hit the test material, that’s all that matters.

  3. G

    “Anonymous” asked:

    “What difference does it make how far away the projectile is, when it’s fired? All that matters is the IMPACT speed. You could fire Projectile A from 50 light years away and Projectile B from 1 inch away, and if both projectiles are traveling at the same speed when they hit the test material, that’s all that matters.”

    My response:
    “What difference does it make?” -You sound like Hillary Clinton.

    Projectile speed will be effected by the distance traveled. After a projectile leaves the device propelling it, unless its in a vacuum, many environmental factors (like air), will begin to slow it down. So in a test, the distance needs to be noted so the test is repeatable. Unless the projectile was self propelled (like a rocket) the distance is a factor.

    G

    • Anonymous

      I think that was the point of Anons post. The only factor that matters is the velocity of the object ‘at the point of impact’. Oh, and that’s ‘Future Madam President Clinton’ to you.😉

  4. Fyl

    vague, indeed.

    also no mention of effects of “doubling up”… wearing a z87.1+ faceshield over z87.1+ goggles, what’s the cumulative eye protection like if the face shield is penetrated, and what would it take to punch thru BOTH???

    and yeah i know such penetration is likely to shred the rest of my face real nice n thorough, but hey, better ugly and sighted than blind disabled or dead.

    also, i seem to be noticing a pattern where they INTENTIONALLY dont draw parallels between industrial gear and armor, but then they turn around and approve the high impacts for archery and gunnery ranges…is that just for stray ricocheting debris, or would doubled up z87.1+ HI facedhield and goggles offer some protection from, say, a facefull of buckshot? a modern hunting crossbow or compound bow? an air rifle? even more, like light caliber ammo at range, or even less? — and would all that only have a chance of working where doubled up in the eye area, not at all, or in some cases could the faceshield alone do the trick?

    what about a 25000rpm HSS or carbide router bit flying out of its collet???

    • Anonymous

      From my shooting range experience, Z87+ stops ricocheting air rifle rounds and empty gun casings (hot little fuckers, I can tell you that, got one in my eye once when I forgot my safety glasses). Stopping buckshot? Forget about it. xD

  5. Anonymous

    So are these glasses: NSN# 4240-01-516-5361 safe to use for airsoft games? So I don’t need to worry about that a bb-“bullet” will break the glass and damage my eyes.
    Thankful for anwsers🙂
    Kind regards.

    • 1, You should, of course, always use eye protection when playing with airsoft guns.
      2. These glasses have the highest rating so they are the absolute best protection you get buy.
      3. Players should, nevertheless, NEVER aim at the head.
      Hope that helps!

  6. Pingback: Eye protection for shooting sports - Team SIG

  7. Loren

    This company I work for told me in orientation that welding is done with a welding hood and grinding and wire wheeling is done with spogles and a face shield. They argue that face shields are tested at 300 feet per second with 1/4 steel ball and the welding hood not the lense is only tested to 150 fps. And Its a real pain in the ass.. I need proof that when a welding HOOD says its ANSI z87. 1+ its test to face shield standers. Please help me thank you.

    • The standard actually does state that face shields are not to be worn as the primary form of eye protection and that ANSI approved eye wear needs to be worn under the face shield. I realize that’s probably not the answer you were hoping for but that is what needs to happen in order to be compliant.

  8. yo

    Apparently, no one’s been in a fire fight. there’s so much debris flying around, without eye protection it’s hard to see where the bullets are coming from. knowing these will stop stuff flying around from a bullet being moved at a rate similar to 900 fps….

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