OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 18 Personal Protective Equipment

Section 229 Compliance with standards

Subsection 229(1)

If a worker’s eyes may be injured or irritated at a work site, the employer is required to ensure that the worker wears eye protection equipment that is approved to CSA Standard Z94.3-07, Eye and Face Protectors, CSA Standard Z94.3-02, Industrial Eye and Face Protectors, or its earliest edition CAN/CSA-Z94.3-99, Industrial Eye and Face Protectors. Protective eyewear that complies with the earlier edition of the Standard may remain in service if it is in good condition. For compliance purposes, at least one component of an assembled product or system must bear the mark or label of a nationally accredited testing organization such as CSA, UL, SIE, etc. For example, if the mark or label appears on the frame, then the entire product is approved; if the mark or label appears on an earpiece, then the entire product is approved.

The CSA Standard sets minimum performance requirements for the testing of industrial eye and face protection. This includes testing for impact resistance, ignition/flammability, visibility, field of view and other characteristics. With the exception of subsection 229(3), eye and face protectors meeting the requirements of ANSI Standard Z87.1-1989, Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection, are not recognized by the OHS Code.

The employer is not required to pay for and provide eye protection equipment. However, the employer is required to ensure that a worker wears such equipment if a worker’s eyes may be injured or irritated at a work site. The employer is also required to ensure that the eye protection equipment selected is appropriate to the work being done and the hazard(s) involved.

Situations can arise in which the eyes are exposed to multiple hazards all at the same time. When this happens, protection must be provided against the highest level of each hazard. For example, if the work involves both flying particles and the possibility of an acid splash, using spectacles is not good enough. At a minimum, Class 2B goggles must be used. The following paragraphs describe the CSA Classes of protective equipment available and Table 18.1 recommends the type of protective equipment that should be used based on the hazard.

For more information
Protective Eyewear: A User’s Guide. CSA Special Publication Z94.3.1-02. Canadian Standards Association, February 2002.

CSA classification of eye and face protectors

The CSA Standards classify eye and face protection into seven classes as follow:

Class 1 – Spectacles (see Figure 18.1)

  • Class 1A spectacles for impact protection with side protection
  • Class 1B spectacles for impact and radiation protection with side protection

Figure 18.1 Spectacles

Class 2 – Goggles (see Figure 18.2)

  • Class 2A goggles for impact protection with direct ventilation
  • Class 2B goggles for impact, dust and splash protection; non-ventilated and indirectly ventilated
  • Class 2C goggles are Class 2A or 2B goggles with radiation protection

Figure 18.2 Goggles

Class 3 – Welding helmets (see Figure 18.3)

  • This Class includes a variety of configurations

Figure 18.3 Welding helmets

Class 4 – Welding hand shields (see Figure 18.4)

  • This Class includes a variety of configurations

Figure 18.4 Welding hand shields

Class 5 – Non-rigid helmets (hoods) (see Figure 18.5)

  • Class 5A non-rigid helmets have an impact-resistant window
  • Class 5B non-rigid helmets are intended for dust, splash and abrasive materials protection
  • Class 5C non-rigid helmets have radiation protection
  • Class 5D non-rigid helmets are intended for high-heat applications

Figure 18.5 Non-rigid helmet (hood)

Class 6 – Faceshields (see Figure 18.6)

  • Class 6A faceshields offer impact and splash protection
  • Class 6B faceshields offer radiation protection
  • Class 6C faceshields are intended for high-heat applications

Figure 18.6 Faceshields

Class 7 – Respirator facepieces (see Figure 18.7)

  • Class 7A respirator facepieces offer impact and splash protection
  • Class 7B respirator facepieces are Class 7A respirator facepieces with radiation protection
  • Class 7C respirator facepieces have loose-fitting hoods or helmets
  • Class 7D respirator facepieces are Class 7C respirator facepieces with radiation protection

Figure 18.7 Respirator facepieces

Table 18.1 Hazards and recommended eye and face protectors

Table 18.1 Hazards and recommended eye and face protectors

Subsection 229(2)

Even if prescription eyewear is made with “impact resistant” plastic lenses, the eyewear still does not protect the eyes like safety eyewear. Some of the differences between safety and prescription eyewear are:

(a) safety eyewear must meet the impact strength requirements of the CSA Standards listed – able to withstand the impact of a 6.4 millimeter diameter steel ball travelling at 46.5 metres/second. Prescription eyewear is not subjected to such a test;

(b) safety eyewear frames must be manufactured so that when struck by an object, the lenses cannot be pushed through the back of the frame into the wearer’s face. Prescription eyewear does not have this feature; and

(c) safety eyewear must have side protection, meet safety standard dimension requirements, and be tested as a complete protector. Prescription eyewear does not meet these requirements.

For those who need it, prescription safety eyewear is available through optometrists and ophthalmologists. Such eyewear meets the requirements of the referenced CSA Standards by using certified lenses and frames. Acceptable prescription safety eyewear has the following characteristics:

(a) lenses are etched or marked with the manufacturer’s identification; and
(b) frames must be marked with the manufacturer’s trademark and the mark or label of the nationally accredited testing organization that evaluated and approved the eyewear to one of the listed CSA Standards.

Subsections 229(2.1) and 229(2.2)

These subsections recognize that in some cases, prescription safety eyewear must be used that has treated safety glass lenses rather than plastic lenses. For example, a work environment may contain an atmosphere that could be corrosive to a plastic lens. Where this is the case, the lenses made of glass must meet the requirements of at least one of the listed ANSI standards. The ANSI standards are referenced because the use of glass lenses is not recognized by CSA’s protective eyewear standards.

Prescription safety eyewear having bifocal, trifocal or progressive i.e. a range of focal lengths from near to far distances, glass lenses has limited impact resistance. As a result, glass lenses must not be used where there is a danger of impact, i.e. there is a probability that the lens can be struck by some object, unless they are worn behind eye protection equipment approved to at least one of the CSA standards listed in subsection 229(1).

Subsection 229(3)

Situations may in which a full face piece respirator is required and the work also requires the eyes and face to be protected from debris, flying particles and dust. In the past, the performance of such work required the use of both a respirator and approved protective eyewear. This approach often reduced the ability of workers to see properly and was cumbersome.

The referenced edition of CSA Standard Z94.3 includes impact testing of respirator face pieces, eliminating the need for additional protective eyewear. However at the time of release of the OHS Code, CSA does not yet have a certification program in place to test respirator face pieces to the new requirements. Until a certification program is in place, respirator face pieces meeting the faceshield impact requirements of section 9 of ANSI Standard Z87.1, Practice for Occupational Health and Educational Eye and Face Protection, are considered acceptable. It is understood that CSA will have a certification program in place in the near future.