Eye Protection

University policy on eye and face protection for students is derived from legislation enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly entitled "Policy for Eye and Face Protection," and passed in 1969. 

This Act requires that eye protective devices be worn by students in shops and laboratories where work involves:

  • Hot solids, liquids, or, molten metals; or
  • Milling, sawing, turning, shaping, cutting, or stamping of any solid materials; or
  • Heat treatment, tempering, or kiln firing of any metal or other materials; or
  • Gas or electric arc welding; or
  • Repair or servicing of any vehicle; or
  • Caustic or explosive chemicals or materials.

Eye protective devices are to be worn at all times while participating in any of the above programs.

This act also provides that visitors to such shops and laboratories be furnished with and required to wear eye safety devices while such programs are in progress.

University policy on eye and face protection for employees is derived from the Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina (OSHANC). OSHANC states that:

Protective eye and face equipment shall be required where there is a reasonable probability of injury that can be prevented by such equipment. In such cases, employers shall make conveniently available a type of protector suitable for the work to be performed, and employees shall use such protectors. No unprotected person shall knowingly be subjected to a hazardous environmental condition. Suitable eye protectors shall be provided where machines or operations present the hazards of flying objects, glare, liquids, injurious radiation, or a combination of these hazards.

Standards and types of equipment

Equipment Standards

The North Carolina legislation and OSHA NC specify that eye and face protective devices, which include spectacles, goggles, and face shields, shall comply with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z87.1 1979 and later revisions thereof. All eye and face protective devices currently on State Contract meet ANSI standards.

Selection of Appropriate Devices Based on Hazard

The type of device required will depend on the nature of the hazard and the frequency with which it is encountered. There are three basic types of eye protection which will meet the majority of University maintenance, shop, and laboratory requirements. These are: safety spectacles (with or without side shields), dust goggles, and chemical goggles. Each of these meets the basic eye protection standards for frontal exposure to flying particles.

  • Side Shields- Safety Glasses with side shields, or goggles, are required where flying particles are likely to enter at an angle, and are usually required where two or more people are working in close proximity. Safety glasses with permanently attached side shields, or impact goggles, will provide this protection. Clip-on side shields do not meet ANSI standards.
  • Chemical Goggles- Safety chemical goggles are required to provide protection against corrosive or hot liquids or fine particles capable of penetrating the ventilation holes in dust goggles.
  • Special Eye Protection- Detailed information on eye protection requirements is available from the Safety Officer for the following hazards:
  1. Welding and brazing operations
  2. Lasers
  3. Ultraviolet radiation
  4. Ionizing particulate radiation

Selection Based on Frequency of Use

  • Dust or chemical goggles are the least expensive approved eye protection devices available, fit most head sized and facial shapes, and may be worn over ordinary glasses. They are recommended for visitors, employees, and students who require eye protection periodically for short duration (less than two hours per day).
  • Adjustable safety glasses and prescription safety glasses are generally more comfortable than goggles and are therefore recommended for employees who require eye protection frequently or for long duration (more than 2 hours)
  • Photogray Lenses- Photogray lenses will not be approved unless a medical need is certified by an eye professional. Photogray lenses will only be provided for employees needing eye protection whose job assignments are largely out-of-doors.
  • Face Shields- Face Shields do not meet eye protection standards and are only for face protection. Appropriate eye protection devices must be worn under the face shield.

Cost, care and reclamation

Providing Protection

The University is committed to a policy of providing eye and face protective devices without cost to employees. Each department is responsible for the funding of its employee eye and face protection program. Departments may loan eye protective devices to students or may require students to purchase devices at the University Book Store. Visitors should be furnished with temporary eye protection without cost.

Eye Examinations and Prescription Frames

Scheduling and payment for eye examinations to obtain prescriptions and professional fittings for safety glasses are the responsibility of the employee and/or student. Frames and lenses for prescription and non prescription safety glasses will be paid for by the University from a selection currently on a statewide contract. Only those items listed on the state contract will be furnished by the University.

Return of Protective Devices

Non-prescription eye protective devices issued to employees, students, and visitors remain the property of the University and are to be returned when the use of the devices is no longer necessary. For students this will normally be at the end of each semester and for employees it will be on termination of employment or change in duties where eye protection is no longer required.

Replacement of Damaged Devices

Glasses damaged during normal wear and use may be replaced without charge to the employee or student at the discretion of the department head or designated administrative officer.

Replacing Lost Devices

Replacement of lost or stolen devices will be the responsibility of the employee or student to whom they were issued.

Cleaning Material

Eye protective devices are personal items and should be issued for the exclusive use of each individual. Materials for cleaning eye and face protective devices are to be made available to employees and students by each department.

Disinfection Before Re-issuance

Eye protective devices must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before being issued to another person. Information on procedures for disinfection is available from the Safety Officer (7443).

eye contamination

Eye Wash Facilities :Every laboratory or work place using caustic and/or corrosive chemicals shall be equipped with emergency eye wash facilities.

First Aid - Chemical Burns: When the eye has received chemical irritation, the preferred first aid is to flood the eye with water immediately for at least 15 minutes and seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Neutralizers or other medication should be used only on the advice, or under the direction, of a physician.

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