What ANSI Z87.1 Certified Mean and How it Works?

What ANSI Z87.1 Certified Mean and How it Works?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), each year, Between 20,000 and 30,000 eye injuries occur in the workplace. Some of them are nonfatal occupational injuries or illnesses involving the eye, but some injuries lead to partial or total vision loss.

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), Thousands of people are blinded each year from work-related eye injuries that could have been prevented with the proper selection and use of ANSI Z87 approved safety glasses.

These injuries can cost the operators hundreds or even thousands of dollars due to the worker’s days off, compensation, and medical treatment. By using the right safety glasses for you or for your employees, you can avoid many losses in time and money.

What is ANSI Z87?

ANSI stands for, The American National Standards Institute is a private non-profit organization that enhances both the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the U.S. quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems, and safeguarding their integrity.

In other words, ANSI creates uniform testing standards and guidelines for a variety of products and equipment used by businesses in nearly every sector. In this article, we will only focus on the Z81 mark.

The Z87 mark is a portion of ANSI standards that references the standards for occupational and educational personal eye and face protection devices. These standards help ensure that workers’ eye and face protection devices provide the necessary protection from impact, non-ionizing radiation, liquid and Chemical splash exposures, and Dust Protection.

The History of Z78

The beginning of Z87 was the first Z2 standard for head and eye protection that was developed from a set of safety standards originally prepared cooperatively by the War, The military, and the National Bureau of Standards (NIST).

  • 1922: The second edition of Z2 was developed.
  • 1938: Z2 was revised to include respiratory protection
  • 1946: Z2 started using plastic “polycarbonate” for eye protection.
  • 1961: The Standards Safety Board approved dividing the Z2 project into three separate standards: 
    1. Z87 – Industrial Eye Protection.
    2.  Z88 – Industrial Respiratory Protection.
    3. Z89 – Industrial Head Protection.
  • 1968: Institute changed its name to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
  • 1979: The Z87 standard was updated to include angular protection for eyewear and filters for lenses.
  • 2003: The Z87 standard has been revised and gives the users of safety eyewear the choice to select their eyewear for the specific hazards they encounter in the workplace.
  • 2010: This update is focused on the workers and the hazards that they are exposed to in their environment like splash, impact, optical radiation, dust, fine dust, and mist. And the safety devices that they will wear will be based on the hazard evaluation they made (the 2010 update continues the 2003 update).
  • 2014: This update incorporates optional preconditioning at higher temperatures than the standard test temperatures.
  • 2015: Some design changes; elimination of the minimum thickness requirements for non-prescription protectors; Requirements for angular dependence of luminous transmittance for welding filters have been added;
  • 2020: Adding lenses with anti-fog properties.

What is the difference between Z87, and Z87+?

ANSI Z87.1 classifies eye protection as impact or non-impact-rated. Impact-rated eye protection must pass certain high-mass and high-velocity tests, and provide eye protection from the side. Impact-rated eye protection will have a plus symbol (+). Impact-rated flat lenses, for instance, will be marked “Z87+.

ANSI Z87 Testing Standards

Eye protection devices that are certified compliant with Z87 are marked Z87 in the lenses or the frame. All the Manufacturers of safety glasses and all kinds of safety eyewear are required to detail and verify that their products meet these standards.

Now we will see all the testing that is made to make sure that the safety glasses are Z87, Z87.1, or Z87+ standards-compliant.

1 – High Impact or High-Velocity Test

This test involves a 0.25-inch steel ball being shot at 20 specified impact points with a speed and distance of 102m/h for safety glasses. Any Z87.1+ safety glasses should succeed at this test.

2 – High Mass Test

The high mass test consists of dropping a pointed 500 g weight from a height of about 50 inches (or 4.2 feet) into the lenses that are mounted on a head form. If the safety glasses frames or lenses have not fractured or become detached, this means it passed the test and it is a .Z87.1+ compliant.

3- Dust Test

The safety glasses that meet the ANSI Z87.1 requirement for dust protection are marked with a code beginning with the letter D as we saw previously.

4 – Liquid Splash Test

In this test, a paper is on a head form under the safety glasses being tested. Circles are drawn on the paper in place of the wearer’s eyes and the safety glasses are then sprayed with a liquid. If the paper changes color inside these circles, the eyewear fails. If not, the safety glasses are Z87.1 compliant.

How Do You Know That Your Safety Glasses Are ANSI Z87 Certified?

Safety glasses that are Z87 approved often have the “Z87” marked in the lenses or in the frame.

Safety Glasses All Markings Explained

In any ANSI Z87 approved safety glasses you will find the Z87 or Z87+ on the sidearm of the frames or on the right side of the lens. If the safety glasses passed the high impact standard, you will see the “Z87+” if not you will only see the “Z87” marking.

All Other markings

  • 2C: UV Protection with good color recognition
  • 1,2: more than 74.4% light transmission, but less than 100%
  • W: Manufacturers mark
  • 1: Optical Class 1 (Refractive Power of 0.06 diopter or less)
  • F: Impact-rated 45.7 m/s
  • K: Anti-scratch
  • N: Anti-Fog
  • CE: Conformity marking
  • XI O: Australian & New Zealand Impact
  • W+: ANSI Z87.1 lens marking

These markings make it easy for workers to choose the right ANSI Z87 approved safety glasses for the hazards that can potentially happen during their work and help increase productivity and compliance.


To make sure you are protected against any hazards that you might encounter in your workplace you should always wear ANSI Z87 Approved safety glasses. By only wearing them you will avoid many eye injuries that can sometimes cause permanent blindness.

If you are a business owner, make sure your team has the right safety glasses so you will not have any losses in time and money by worker’s days off, compensation, and medical treatment in case of an accident.

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