Making Sense of the new Eye/Face Protection Standard

In case you hadn’t heard, ANSI (American National Standards Institute) approved a new Z87.1 standard.

The new standard, Z87.1-2010 attempts to cover more ground, extending the standard to cover more in the nature of hazards that relate to eye and face protection. The changes are pretty broad and change the nature of the standard substantially. Because of this, the markings on protective eyewear has also changed.

Need help understanding and deciphering the new standard? Fortunately for us, MSA has done a great job doing just that with a new whitepaper entitled “ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2010: Frequently Asked

Questions about the New Standard”

You can download the whitepaper for free from the MSA assetlibrary by clicking here.


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.


The Basics of Eyewash (Part 4)

Understanding the standard

The ANSI standard concerning eyewash (Z358.1-2009) specifies that a “flushing fluid” should be used to flush out particles and contaminants. The fluid can be potable water, buffered water or saline solution, depending on the type of eyewash that is used.

The standard further specifies that it must provide a continuous, low-pressure stream for a minimum of 15 minutes. This time duration is important especially when chemicals are involved because the fluid doesn’t neutralize, it only dilutes. Plenty of fluid is needed to adequately dilute and flush away hazardous chemicals. If an eyewash station is going to service an area where extremely hazardous chemicals are going to be used, you might consider a longer flushing time and therefore more fluid.

Eyewash vs. Shower

Drench showers are not to be used in lieu of eyewash stations. Drench showers are high-pressure and are intended to flush the skin, not the eyes. There are combination eyewash/drench showers that can be used to handle both, but a shower should not be the primary eyewash station.

Specifications

If you are installing a plumbed eyewash station, it is important that you follow the ANSI standard. The standard specifies that the nozzles should be 33-45″ off the ground and at least 6″ away from the wall or from any other obstruction. Furthermore, the eyewash needs to be able to be activated in 1 second and run for 15 minutes at least without the user having to keep his or her hand on the lever or valve. Plumbed units need to be tested on a weekly basis in order to make sure that there are no obstructions as well as to flush out the water that has been sitting in the pipes so that bacteria doesn’t build up.

Temperature – The fluid should be tepid which means that it should be between 16-38°C (60-100°F). In order to maintain that temperature, a mixing valve may be required.

Conclusion:

Whichever eyewash you choose, it is important to make sure that you read all the information related to that particular eyewash station. It should tell you most of what you need to know in order to be compliant. If you are unsure about the type or need or location of eyewashes in your facility, call a safety professional. Many manufacturers or safety distributors will provide a rep who can do a walk-through and give you a detailed information about where you would need to install an eyewash station and which one would be best suited. Eyewash stations are a relatively simple and inexpensive investment that can pay off big when it saves someone their sight.


The Basics of Eyewash (Part 3)

Eye/Face Wash Equipment (Section 6)

  • Emergency eye/ face wash equipment must be constructed of materials resistant to corrosion (Section 6.1.5).
  • The flushing fluid it delivers must be at a flow that is will not injure the user (Section 6.1.1)
  • It should be protected from airborne contaminants (Section 6.1.3)

Critical Dimensions

  • 33″–45″ from the nozzles to the surface the user stands (Section 6.4.4)
  • Nozzles must also be at least 6″ away from a wall or any type of obstruction (Section 6.4.4)
  • An eyewash gauge should be utilized to assess the flow pattern. See Illustration 3c on page 21 of ANSI Z358.1-2004 for exact dimensions. (Section 6.1.7)

Performance and Maintenance Criteria

  • Minimum Flushing fluid of 3 GPM at 30 PSI for 15 minutes (Section 6.1.6)
  • Valve should easily activate in a second or less and remain open on its own until it is intentionally turned off (Section 6.2)
  • If the potential for freezing conditions, product specifically designed to avoid freezing should be utilized (Section 6.4.5)
  • Plumbed units should be activated long enough on a weekly basis to be sure flushing fluid is provided (Section 6.5.2)
  • Self-contained units do not require activation, but require a visual inspection to verify adequate flushing fluid is available (Section 6.5.3)

 

Combination Units (Section 7)

Showers, eyewashes, eye/face washes, and drench hoses all can be utilized in Combination Units. The requirements of each of these types of product categories must be met when utilized with other categories of emergency equipment (Section 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 7.1.3, 7.1.4). All the emergency equipment on a Combination Unit must be able to be used simultaneously by the same individual (7.4.4).

Critical Dimensions

Refer to the shower, eyewash, eye/face wash, and drench hose sections of this document or the ANSI standard for applicable dimensions.

Performance and Maintenance Criteria

  • Refer to Sections 4, 5, 6, and 8.2.2 for valve information (Section 7.2)
  • If the potential for freezing conditions, product specifically designed to avoid freezing should be utilized (Section 7.4.4)
  • Plumbed units should be activated long enough on a weekly basis to ensure flushing fluid is provided (Section 7.5.2)
  • Self-contained units do not require activation, but require a visual inspection to verify the adequate flushing fluid is available (Section 7.5.3)

 

(Taken from “A Guide to the ANSI Z358.1-2004 Standard for Emergency Eyewashes and Shower Equipment” available from the Bradley website


The Basics of Eyewash (Part 2)

Requirements by Emergency Equipment Product Category

 

Plumbed and Self-Contained Eyewash Equipment (Section 5)

  • Emergency eyewash equipment must be constructed of materials resistant to corrosion (Section 5.1.5).
  • The flushing fluid it delivers must be at a flow that is non-injurious to the user (Section 5.1.1)
  • It should be protected from airborne contaminants (Section 5.1.3).

 

Critical Dimensions:

  • 33″–45″ from the nozzles to the surface the user stands (Section 5.4.4)
  • Nozzles must also be at least 6″ away from a wall or any type of obstruction (Section 5.4.4)
  • An eyewash gauge should be utilized to assess the flow pattern. See Illustration 3c on page 21 of ANSI Z358.1-2004 for exact dimensions. (Section 4.1.5)

 

Performance and Maintenance Criteria

  • Minimum Flushing fluid of .4 GPM at 30 PSI for 15 minutes (Section 5.1.6)
  • Valve should easily activate in a second or less and remain open on its own until it is intentionally turned off (Section 5.2)
  • If the potential for freezing conditions, product specifically designed to avoid freezing should be utilized (Section 5.4.5)
  • Plumbed units should be activated on a weekly basis long enough to be sure flushing fluid is provided (Section 5.5.2)
  • Self-contained units do not require activation, but require a visual inspection to verify adequate flushing fluid is available (Section 5.5.3)

 

(Taken from “A Guide to the ANSI Z358.1-2004 Standard for Emergency Eyewashes and Shower Equipment” available from the Bradley website


The Basics of Eye Wash (Part 1)

“More than 2,000 people injure their eyes at work each day. About 1 in 10 injuries require one or more missed workdays to recover from. Of the total amount of work-related injuries, 10-20 % will cause temporary or permanent vision loss. Experts believe that the right eye protection could have lessened the severity or even prevented 90% of eye injuries in accidents.

This quote, taken from the Prevent Blindness America website, is sobering, especially the second part of the quote that tells us that 90% of eye injuries are preventable. We have already discussed the basics of eye safety in a previous document (See “The Basics of Eye Protection“) but eye protection is a two-part process. The first part is prevention which involves safety glasses, goggles and face shields. The second part involves eyewash in order to treat eye injuries.

When an eye injury occurs, the first 10 to 15 seconds are critical; any longer than that and serious injury may occur. What this means is that eye wash stations must be within easy access in all critical locations. It is therefore important to identify your critical areas and make sure that you have what is needed to properly treat eye injuries in those locations.

Critical Areas:

  • Any area where harmful chemicals are being used, dispensed or stored.
  • Any area where there is debris flying around.

Three types of eyewashes:

  1. Plumbed
    This type of eyewash station relies on the plants’ water supply. It is connected to the facility’s water main. There are several different types of plumbed eyewashes as well:
    1. Faucet Mounted Eyewashes which connect directly to the tap or are connected next to the tap (see examples here)
    2. Free standing eyewashes that tap into the water supply by stand independently of any existing fixture or wall. These are most often combined with a drench shower (see examples here)
    3. Wall mounted eyewashes that are plumbed into the water supply but are mounted on the wall. (see examples here)
  2. Self-Contained
    This type of eyewash is not plumbed into the existing water supply but contains within the unit itself, enough water to properly flush the eyes. These can be free standing or wall mounted (See examples here)
  3. Personal
    This type is one or more bottles of saline solution designed for field work where conditions change constantly (see examples here).

Construction Industry Lens Shades for Radiant Energy

Construction Industry Requirements for Filter Lens Shade Numbers for Protection Against Radiant Energy

 

Welding Operation

Shade

Shielded metal-arc welding

1/16-, 3/32-, 1/8-, 5/32-inch diameter electrodes

10

Gas-shielded arc welding (nonferrous)

1/16-, 3/32-, 1/8-, 5/32-inch diameter electrodes

11

Gas-shielded arc welding (ferrous)

1/16-, 3/32-, 1/8-, 5/32-inch diameter electrodes

 

12

Shielded metal-arc welding

3/16-, 7/32-, 1/4-inch diameter electrodes

 

12

5/16-, 3/8-inch diameter electrodes

14

Atomic hydrogen welding

10 – 14

Carbon-arc welding

14

Soldering

2

Torch brazing

3 or 4

Light cutting, up to 1 inch

3 or 4

Medium cutting, 1 to 6 inches

4 or 5

Heavy cutting, more than 6 inches

5 or 6

Gas welding (light), up to 1/8-inch

4 or 5

Gas welding (medium), 1/8- to 1/2-inch

5 or 6

Gas welding (heavy), more than 1/2-inch

6 or 8

 

Source: 29 CFR 1926.102(b)(1) (www.OSHA.gov)


 


Chart for Lens Tint for Protection against Radiant Energy

Operation

Electrode Size in Arc Current 1/32″ (0.8mm)

Arc Current

Minimum * Protective Shade

Shielded metal

arc welding

< 3

3-5

5-8

> 8

< 60

60-160

160-250

250-550

7

8

10

11

Gas Metal arc Welding and Flux cored arc welding

 

< 60

60-160

160-250

250-500

7

10

10

10

Gas Tungsten arc welding

 

< 50

50-150

150-500

8

8

10

Air Carbon

Light

< 500

10

Arc Cutting

Heavy

500 – 1,000

11

Plasma Arc Welding

 

< 20

20-100

100-400

400-800

6

8

10

11

Plasma Arc Cutting

Light **

Medium **

Heavy **

< 300

300-400

400-800

8

9

10

Torch Brazing

   

3

Torch Soldering

   

2

Carbon Arc Welding

   

14

 

Operations

Plate Thickness

Minimum * Protective Shade

Light Gas Welding

< 1/8 ” (3.2mm)

4

Medium Gas Welding

1/8″- ½” (3.2-12.7mm)

5

Heavy Gas Welding

> ½” (12.7mm)

6

Light Oxygen Cutting

< 1 (25mm)

3

Medium Oxygen Cutting

1-6″ (25-150mm)

4

Heavy Oxygen Cutting

> 6″ (150mm)

5

* As a rule of thumb, start with a shade that is too dark to see the weld zone. Then go to a lighter shade which gives sufficient view of the weld zone without going below the minimum. In oxyfuel gas welding or cutting where the torch produces a high yellow light, it is desirable to use a filter lens that absorbs the yellow or sodium line in the visible light of the (spectrum) operation.

 

** These values apply where the actual arc is clearly seen. Experience has shown that lighter filters may be used when the arc is hidden by the work piece.

 

Source: 29 CFR 1910.133(a)(5). (www.OSHA.gov)


Another one for the “Can you say Duh?!?!” category

Those of you who read this blog on a regular basis will remember my entry a couple weeks ago entitled “Can you say Duh?” For those of you who missed it, it was about a new study that found that obese people had a harder time getting their work done then those who were a healthy weight.

Now, less than two weeks later, I’m having to post another entry in the same category.

According to a new study published in the June issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization researchers have discovered that employees who can’t see properly and do get their vision corrected can’t do their jobs as well as those who either see fine or get their bad vision corrected.

Who would have guessed? Apparently you need to be able to see properly in order to do your job properly!

It apparently took 4 different agencies all working together to reach this conclusion.

Soooo, if you are having a hard time reading this put your glasses on and go back to work!!


Eye Protection and Contact Lenses

Stumble It! Digg! Add to Mixx! Pownce

Do you know what the regulations regarding contact lens wearers is?

The 1978 NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, for example, recommended that employees handling chemicals not wear contact lenses; the 2003 guide did not include that recommendation. The latest bulletin from NIOSH, dated June of this year, allows workers handling chemicals to wear contact lenses with little to no restrictions.

Meanwhile, other, more cautious recommendations, voice concerns about the possibility of contact lenses trapping harmful chemicals in the eye, rather than allowing the chemicals to be flushed out properly; concerns about additional chemicals being introduced into the eye when the worker tries to remove the contact lens in a hurry as well as concerns about the contact lens being fused to the eyeball, either from chemical exposure or as a result of exposure to a welding flash.

So what is the rule? What should you do?

The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine has worked to try to answer these questions. Here are their recommendations:

  • Establish a written policy,
  • Conduct a hazard evaluation,
  • Provide training and PPE,
  • Notify employees and visitors of denied or restricted areas,
  • Notify supervisors and responders of contact lens wearers working in eye-hazardous areas.

Among the Chemicals that you should include in the hazard evaluation are:

* 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP): OSHA regulation8
* 4,4′-methylene dianiline: OSHA regulation8
* Ethyl alcohol: Study of absorption by Cerulli, et al. 19853
* Ethylene oxide: OSHA regulation8
* Isopropyl alcohol: Study of absorption by Cerulli, et al. 19853
* Methylene chloride: OSHA regulation8