Has OSHA Approved Your Prescription Safety Glasses?

Ordering prescription safety glasses online can be a daunting task to begin with; how do you know if your glasses are “OSHA approved”?

Has OSHA Approved Your Prescription Safety Glasses?

OSHA Approved Prescription Safety GlassesPrescription safety glasses are a crucial part of personal protective equipment for many job sites and work areas.

The first thing you should know if you’re searching for OSHA-approved prescription safety glasses is that OSHA itself does not approve safety eyewear or create standards for safety glasses. What you’re probably looking for are safety glasses with an ANSI Z87 safety rating, which will make them compliant with OSHA. ANSI creates the standard that safety eyewear must live up to. OSHA enforces the use of safety eyewear, ensuring that you are wearing the appropriate safety equipment on the job. The eyewear itself must meet or exceed a set of criteria to meet ANSI Z87 requirements, and it must be marked with the ANSI Z87 mark to be OSHA compliant.

If you need safety glasses and you wear prescription glasses, it’s a good idea to consider getting OSHA compliant prescription safety glasses as opposed to using fitovers or a goggle. The problem with wearing safety eyewear over your existing prescription glasses is that it encourages fogging and tends to cause poor optical conditions.

If you have never used prescription safety glasses in the past, you are probably fed up with fitover eyewear by now.

If you’re looking for “OSHA approved” prescription safety glasses, here’s what you need to know:

  • To be clear, prescription safety glasses are technically never “OSHA approved.” ANSI creates and approves the standards for safety glasses in the US, and OSHA enforces the use of them. So, if you’re looking for OSHA approved prescription safety glasses, what you actually need are ANSI Z87 rated safety glasses. Safety eyewear that is ANSI Z87 rated is generally compliant with OSHA regulations.
  • Safety glasses must meet the ANSI Z87 standard and bear the Z87 marking to be compliant with OSHA regulations for most job sites. Frames must have Z87 marked on all parts that could be removed (frame front, arms) and the lenses must be stamped with the lab’s initials (ours is PS) to meet ANSI Z87 standards and be OSHA-compliant.
  • Almost all of our prescription eyewear is ANSI Z87 rated and OSHA compliant. If you are shopping for OSHA-compliant prescription safety glasses on our site, you just need to make sure that the glasses you choose are marked “ANSI Z87 approved” on our site.
  • Polycarbonate is the best lens material to get for rx safety glasses. Prescription safety glasses with plastic or glass lenses may be ANSI Z87 approved, but they will not be as impact-resistant as prescription safety glasses with polycarbonate lenses.
  • Prescription safety glasses are available in wraparound styles or flat frames. OSHA-compliant prescription safety glasses can be either of these, but your choice should depend upon your prescription strength and your application.
  • If you have a strong prescription (can barely see without your glasses), you should ask us before you order rx safety glasses in a wraparound frame.
  • If you have a weak prescription and you want good side coverage, it is a good idea to get a wraparound frame. We can do most prescriptions between -5.00 and +2.00 in wraparounds.

While prescription safety glasses are technically never “OSHA approved,” they are OSHA compliant if they are ANSI Z87 approved. That is what OSHA requires on almost every American job site. If you are looking for Canadian or European standards, call our customer service hotline to speak with somebody about your options.

OSHA-compliant prescription safety glasses are an extremely useful addition to your safety equipment. You can customize your lens colors and use the glasses for sports and driving as well as on the job. Many of our customers find countless other uses for their prescription safety glasses after they order them for work.

If you have any questions about prescription safety glasses or which ones are best for you, give us a call or leave your questions in the comments below. Thanks for reading, and stay safe!

Written by Kieran Hunt

Kieran Hunt is the staff writer and product research engineer at RxSafety. Kieran writes a majority of the company's written content while also working with the company's owners to develop new prescription safety glasses.Website: http://rx-safety.com

7 Responses to Has OSHA Approved Your Prescription Safety Glasses?
  1. John P. Leseganich, CPEA
    December 7, 2013 | 10:13 am

    OSHA “Approved”: I’m sure you have been told this before but I need to inform you anyway. I am an EH&S Consultant and past OSHA representative. I’m searching for some “Safety Glasses” for a client of mine and came across your site. I can’t tell you how many times I have to explain to clients and vendors when I see the wording “OSHA APPROVED”…OSHA DOES NOT APPROVE ANYTHING. A product can not and should not advertise itself as “OSHA APPROVED”., you can say “Meets OSHA requirements” or “ANSI APPROVED”, but NOT OSHA APPROVED. Hope you understand….just a little “pet peeve” of mine. Have a safe day.

    • Kieran Hunt
      December 18, 2013 | 11:37 am

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your comment! I can see why the wording bothers you. Most people searching for prescription safety glasses do not know this difference and, for the sake of buying a pair of safety glasses, it’s sort-of a “6 one way, half-dozen the other” scenario. The semantics may be wrong, but the meaning is the same: these glasses will be acceptable by OSHA on a job site. Most people searching for safety glasses online do not care to know this distinction (in my experience as a customer service representative for prescription safety glasses), they just want to know that they’ll be safe from injury and compliant with OSHA.

      This blog post specifically addresses the fact that many people who are looking for ANSI-approved, OSHA-compliant safety eyewear are typing “OSHA Approved” into Google. Because it’s obvious what these people are looking for, we have posts like this, with poor semantics, in the hopes that the search engines will lead them to us, where we’ll guide them to what they’re looking for. You’ll be happy to know that all of our safety eyewear is advertised on our site as ANSI approved, not OSHA approved.

      Thanks for your informative comment! Hopefully it clears up any confusion others have when reading this post.


  2. scott bartel
    May 3, 2014 | 10:38 pm

    I am wanting spy optics generals ansi approved with Matte black frame, but I need a polerized lens. My question is where can I find this combination or is this posible?
    Also spy claims that all general frames and all there polycarbonate lenses including polerized are ansi approved, do you know this to be true?
    I need some direction

  3. Jason Nettles
    March 6, 2015 | 4:03 pm

    I need some z87 safety glasses for reading only. My eye Dr. said I could not get them in read only that ansi standards say I have to have distant vision as well. My distance vision is fine. I just need glasses for when I need to see something that is close and small. When I leave that site I put my regular safety glasses back on. Can you tell me if that is a true statement or not. Can I get read only z87 approved glasses?

  4. Jessica
    March 18, 2015 | 11:34 am

    IF you look on our website http://www.rx-safety.com you will see frames that are safety approved.

  5. doug
    August 11, 2016 | 1:39 pm

    Can ANZI Z87+ Frames be used for ANZI stamped poly carbonate prescription lenses and still be in compliant?

    • Ryan Phillips
      August 18, 2016 | 8:56 am

      Hi Doug,

      Yes, in order for your glasses to be complaint, both frame and lenses must be ANSI approved.

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