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 Post subject: Prescription Safety Glasses
PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:39 am 
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Location: Port Huron, Michigan
The question is about what sort of prescription safety glasses are acceptable. NFPA 70E 130.7(C)(4) Eye Protection seems to govern this. All this states, however, is that "employees shall wear protective equipment for the eyes whenever there is danger of injury from electric arcs, flashes, or from flying objects resulting from electrical explosion."

Table 130.7(C)(14) Subject Eye and Face Protection - General references standard Z87.1-2003. Does this mean that any pair of prescription safety glasses that meets this standard is safe under 70E. Or, as the Handbook comment for 130.7(C)(4) states, "eyeglasses or spectacles that have exposed conductive components could fall into an exposed energized electrical conductor and initiate an arcing fault."

The company I work for has implied that they want electrical workers wearing non-conductive safety glasses. Do other companies out there have similar policies? What are people on here wearing when they are exposed to electricity?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:03 am 
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Non-conductive safety glasses were the norm in the utility company I worked for. Also in a power plant in a previous job not only non-conductive but straps also required.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:11 am 
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Any safety glasses that meet the current ANSI Z87.1-2010 standards meet the intent of the 70E standard. All the polymers used in frames and lenses are flame-out rated, but some may melt and drip under prolonged exposure to high heat (more heat than your face would withstand). Side splash protection is generally seen as needed due to work practices like 'turning ones head to the side while operating disconnects' . The new standard also has a high ballistic impact withstand catagory which is popular with substation workers. If you think about it though, the work practice around energized equipment is to wear arc resistant face shields/goggles whenever your face is close enough to cause an action that could send your safety glasses falling into the energized point of contact, so metal frames aren't still considered as much of a hazard as they used to be. Use caution on the type of eyeglass retainers you may want to use since they are soft, stretchy nylon that may not even be fire resistant, let alone arc rated.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:16 pm 
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Most use non-metallic frames since this is required by NFPA 70E. OSHA has a letter of interpretation which indicates that if metal frames are worn, they must be suspended in such a manner so they do not fall off. I proposed to NFPA 70E for 2012 that they adopt this language or language that if the metal frames are under a face shield that they would be acceptable. It was rejected by the committee but I still feel this is reasonable. There are arc tested non-melting eyeglass restraints on the market. Chums developed them. They are made from a PBI Kevlar or Kevlar. You can purchase them from many companies.

I do recommend using non-conductive frames if possible (so there is no risk if they do fall off) UVEX and 3M sell prescription non-conductive frames (they may be available from others). Make sure they meet ANSI Z87.1-2010 as Sparksmore said.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:57 pm 
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Thanks for the replies. I had purchased a Chums eyeglass retainer, but purchased cotton, not knowing the Kevlar "Meets NFPA 70E requirements" version existed. I have ordered the Kevlar version.
My feeling is that "standard" safety glasses meeting Z87.1 with a retainer are sufficient to meet the code requirement, but I will be upgrading to non-conductive Z87.1 compliant safety glasses in a few months.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:07 am 
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As I understand it safety glasses under the face shield are in case it melts/drips.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:31 am 
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In theory safety glasses could fall off your face, onto energized equipment, and cause an arc flash. Hence the requirement seems to be that either a) you use non-conductive safety glasses, or b) you use something to secure the glasses on your face (or both).


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