When shopping for safety eyewear, you’ll often see glasses and goggles labeled with “Z87.1+” or some similarly cryptic code. But what is Z87.1+, and is it something you need to be on the lookout for?
Z87.1 is a safety standard for eyewear set up by ANSI (the American National Standards Institute). It is used to rate whether glasses or goggles provide an acceptable level of protection for different work-related hazards. OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) uses ANSI Z87.1 standards when setting workplace safety rules, so for many jobs, the use of Z87.1-rated eyewear is required by law.
If you see a “+” after the Z87.1 rating, or Z87.1+, that means the eyewear is designed to provide impact protection. Glasses and goggles are tested for impact protection using both blunt objects and sharp objects. As this video shows, Z87.1+ eyewear provides protection against impacts that would otherwise severely damage your eyes.
Besides the “+” for impact protection, there are several other codes you may see listed after the Z87.1 rating. Those include:
- W for welding protection.
- U for UV light protection.
- L for visible light (glare) filter.
- R for infrared (IR) light filter.
- D for dust or droplet (splash) protection.
- V for variable tint.
- S for special purpose.
Those codes will often be followed by a number showing the level of protection. For example, eyewear with an infrared 3.0 filter will be listed as “R3.” Level 5 dust protection would be “D5.” Eyewear that provides IR protection, dust protection, and impact protection would be marked as something like “Z87.1+ R3 D5.”