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OSHA Standards: Eye, Face and Head Protection

OSHA's 29 CFR 1910 Subpart 1 deals with eye and face protection (see 1910.133) and head protection (see 1910.135).

Eye Protection Regulations: 29 CFR 1910.133

An employer must:

  • Ensure that each affected employee wears eye or face protection (PPE) when he or she is exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors or potential injurious light radiation.
  • Ensure that each affected employee properly uses eye protection that contains side protection when there is a hazard from flying objects.
  • When there are employees that wear prescription lenses, the employer must also ensure that each of the affected employees has eye protection that incorporates the prescription within the eye protection or wears eye protection that is worn over the prescription lenses without disturbing the position of the prescription lenses or protective lenses.
  • When work is being performed where there is injurious light radiation, the employer must ensure that each affected employee uses equipment with filter lenses that have a shade number appropriate for the work being performed and the injurious light radiation.
  • The eye and face PPE must comply with ANSI\ISEA Z87.1-2003.

Head Protection Regulations: 29 CFR 1910.135

An employer must:

  • Ensure that each affected employee wears a protective helmet when working in areas where there is a potential for injury to the head from falling objects.
  • When working in areas when the employee is near exposed electrical conductors that could contact the head, the employer must ensure that a protective helmet designed to reduce electrical shock hazard is worn by each affected employee.
  • All head protection that is utilized must be in compliance with ANSI\ASSE Z89.1-2009.

How to Eliminate or Control the Hazard

When employees are working in an environment requiring head protection, they must follow the appropriate hierarchy of controls to either eliminate the hazard or control the hazard. Risk factors must be continually evaluated. In order to reduce workplace injuries, employers must implement safety plans that are followed by all employees. The safety plan must require that employees:

  1. Actively analyze the work and worksite to anticipate and prevent harmful occurrences;
  2. At all times, remain aware of their surroundings;
  3. Know and at all times follow the rules; and
  4. Exercise caution while performing their duties.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

An effective safety program goes beyond "the writing." What makes the plan effective is its actual implementation. Effective programs include provisions for systematic identification, evaluation, and prevention/control of hazards. Management must be committed, and employees actively involved, in order to make the plan effective. Plans will include hazard prevention and control, as well as safety and health training - and to the extent that your actions speak louder than words, you may reduce the extent and severity of work-related injuries and/or illnesses. And at the same time, you may improve employee morale and productivity.

Helping You Design Safety Programs that Meet OSHA Requirements

At Kerr, Hendershot & Cannon, P.C., we regularly work with employers to design safety programs that meet the appropriate OSHA requirements for eye, face and head protection. We also routinely represent employers in responding to citations that deal with eye, face and head protection.

To comply with OSHA standards, you should consult with an attorney who is well versed in representing employers in OSHA matters, whether it's an inspection or a citation.

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