Revised on
01/08/19 10:52am
SafetyNet #

Eye and Face Safety Protection for Laboratory Workers

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A. Summary

UC Davis Policy and Procedure 290-50 (PPM) provides guidance regarding protective equipment for the workplace. The Department, Principal Investigator (PI), and/or Supervisors will:

  1. Instruct employees on use of required eye/facial protection, and document the training.
  2. Ensure the use and maintenance of equipment is in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, and the equipment is kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
  3. Ensure eye protection is in compliance with ANSI Z87.1.

Job-specific Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be available and maintained in the facility’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) under Safe Work Practices. Where eye protection is required and the employee requires vision correction, one of the following will be provided:

  1. Safety glasses with suitable corrected lenses.
  2. Safety goggles designed to fit over prescription glasses.
  3. Face shields used in conjunction with safety goggles or glasses.

B. Working Environments

In locations where there is a risk of injury to the eyes or face, protective equipment must be worn. Due to the variability in work environments, hazard analysis must be performed on specific procedures, tasks, tools, or equipment used by employees to identify the proper PPE required by these personnel. Job-specific PPE requirements must be maintained either in a Hazard Assessment, UC Davis Chemical Hygiene Plan, Laboratory-specific Safety Plan, or a Shop Safety Plan for ready access by students, visitors, and employees. Effective eye and face protection device requirements can differ between, or within, a work environment, so a PPE Selection guide is available for use. For laser or Ultra-Violet (UV) radiation hazards, see SafetyNet #73: Laser Protective Eyewear and SafetyNet #106: Hazards of Ultraviolet Radiation respectively, to select appropriate protective eyewear.

C. Laboratory Workers

Eye and face safety equipment is intended to minimize exposure or injury to laboratory students, visitors, and employees. All personnel working with hazardous materials, and any individuals in adjacent spaces who have the potential to be exposed to chemical splashes or other hazards, are required to wear protective eyewear consistent with the Hazard Assessment, or Standard Operating Procedure requirements (See: UCOP PPE Policy). If laboratory procedures call for a face shield, then safety glasses or goggles must also be worn underneath the face shield (consistent with OSHA guidance).

D. Non-Laboratory Workers

Everyone working in non-laboratory areas at UC Davis are required to wear appropriate PPE. According to the types and extent of hazards, the types of PPE which must be worn is determined by conducting a Hazard Assessment. This equipment reduces the risk of injury or exposure to potential hazards. PPE for the face and eyes (i.e. safety glasses, goggles, and face shields), must always remain clean and free of contaminants. Damaged PPE must be replaced. If procedures call for a face shield, then safety glasses or goggles must also be worn underneath the face shield (consistent with OSHA guidance).

E. Corrective Lenses

Employees wearing contact lenses should follow these recommendations:

  • Employees who wear contact lens should inform their supervisor and co-workers they wear contact lenses so that appropriate eye injury hazard evaluation in the workplace can be conducted.
  • Wearing contact lens is prohibited in working environments exposed to harmful materials or light flashes, except when special, medically-approved precautionary procedures, have been established for the protection of the exposed employee. Note: NIOSH recommends that workers be per­mitted to wear contact lenses when handling hazardous chemicals provided that the safety guidelines listed here are followed and that contact lenses are not banned by regulation or contraindicated by medical or industrial hygiene recommendations. For arc lamp/flashes no additional protection is required. See: SafetyNet #137: Guidelines for Arc and Flash Lamp Safety.
  • Do not handle, insert, or store contact lenses in dusty environments, or in areas where chemical, biohazard, or radiological materials are used or stored. If you need medical advice about wearing contact lenses in areas where chemicals are stored and/or used, contact Occupational Health, and refer to the Laboratory Safety Manual for information about hygiene safety (i.e. not eating in the lab, putting on makeup, inserting contact lenses, etc.)

F. Prescription Safety Glasses

Employees who wear prescription safety glasses must wear secondary protection (i.e. visitors glasses, over-glasses, or goggles), or obtain prescription safety glasses.  Side shields must be affixed to the frames to protect eyes in compliance with ANSI Z87.1. The employee’s home department is responsible for paying and covering the cost of prescription eyewear materials (frames and impact resistant lenses). Employees are responsible for any additional professional fees associated with the eye examination, fitting, and dispensing.

If you are in need of prescription safety eyewear, use the contacts on the Prescription Safety Glasses page.