Universal side shields are plastic shields that fit onto the sides of glasses to better protect the eyes from harmful substances that a worker may come into contact with during the work day. Universal shields come in many shapes and sizes and can be made from a variety of materials. Some are OSHA and ANSI compliant, but some are not. If your job requires you to wear universal side shields as a part of your regular safety equipment, you will want to make sure they are OSHA and ANSI compliant to you are not injured or fined due to having the wrong ones.
When an employee already wears glasses, it is possible to simply use the universal shields that are properly rated by OSHA and ANSI in order to afford added protection to eyes while working. Universal shields can be made out of a number of material. Medical grade polymers provide flexible protection while meeting the ANSI Z87.1-2003 impact requirements. These side shields can help protect against blood borne pathogens, bodily fluids, viral and other airborne particles by adjusting to any frame and pliably conforming to facial features.
Other side shields can be made out of impact resistant polycarbonate. This material should be rated to impact specifications tested to ANSI Z87 on both metal and plastic frames. Side shields should be easy to install and apply and fit snugly against the face in order to prevent splashes and eye injury. Other options are often available on these types of universal side shields. Tinted lenses are available, to help keep harmful UV rays from damaging the eyes and helps to eliminate glare.
Some jobs will require that side shields be compliant with OSHA rule 29 CFR Part 1910.133. This rule has specific specifications for side shields and protective eye glasses depending on the job being done. Jobs like shielded metal arc welding and plasma arc cutting require eye safety side shields and goggles to be thicker than those for workers only working with a torch brazing or soldering. Check the OSHA and ANSI requirements for your job to see what the minimum protective shade is needed to keep your eyes safe from harm.
It is important to only use safety devices, such as protective eye side shields, that are ANSI and OSHA compliant. Inferior side shields may be cheaper, but may not offer you the protection you need when you need it most. You can find our the specifications for universal shields by consulting the OSHA website. Your company may also have specific requirements as well, above what is required by OSHA and ANSI. When working around electricity, plasma and chemicals, it is possible to do some severe and irreversible damage to your eyes. However, with proper precautions and by wearing the compliant safety gear, those chance of damage to your eyes is greatly lessened. Make sure the universal side shields you are using are compliant to be assured that you are getting the best protection possible for your eyes.