Eye and Face Protection for Areas with Chemicals

Eye and face protection must be made available to all employees or visitors to areas where chemicals are used and stored. Protective eye and face equipment must be worn where there is a reasonable probability of injury from hazardous chemicals. This document outlines when eye protection is needed, what type of eye protection is needed and lists sources for obtaining safety eyewear and prescription safety glasses.

Eye protection should be selected based on the following table:

Table of Eye Protection Selection Criteria
Operation Eye Protection Required
Entry into laboratory or liquid chemical area when a reasonable probability of eye injury exists Safety glasses
Handling corrosive chemicals Chemical splash goggles
Handling injurious chemicals Chemical splash goggles
Transferring more than one liter quantities of corrosive chemicals Splash goggles and face shield

Many laboratories on campus contain liquids, acids, bases and organic solvents that may present a splash hazard. Other nonlaboratory areas, like storerooms, farms, and maintenance areas may have corrosive or injurious chemicals or jobs that require eye protection be worn if the probability of an eye injury exists. These laboratories and other work areas will need to do a risk assessment and implement the eye and face protection policy accordingly.  The risk assessment should evaluate the potential for an eye injury to occur and should determine the type of eye protection to be worn. Typical activities that would present the reasonable probability of eye injury include:

  • Pipetting
  • Opening centrifuge tubes
  • Using syringes
  • Mixing/vortexing
  • Preparing solutions
  • Titrations
  • Pouring

The above list is not inclusive and you should consider all procedures that involve the potential for splash. Past accidents involving a splash to the eye would indicate a situation that requires eye protection. An employee working adjacent to an activity that requires eye protection, may require the adjacent employee to use eye protection. Different chemicals will require different eye protection based on the pH, the potential for skin/eye damage and the quantity handled.

The use of corrosives and injurious chemicals would definitely require eye protection. Liquid corrosive chemicals are those with a pH <= 4.0 or a pH >= 9. Solid chemicals are considered corrosive when in solution; they fall in the above pH range. A highly corrosive chemical has a pH <= 2 and >= 12.5. Injurious chemicals cause tissue destruction at the site of contact. For example, methylene chloride or methylethylketone peroxide. Refer to the SDS for assistance in determining the injurious nature of chemicals and for recommendations on eye protection.

In the Chemistry Department, all employees or visitors are required to wear eye protection whenever they enter the lab due to their Department protocol and the high use of chemicals. In other laboratories or chemical use areas, eye protection must be worn whenever liquid chemicals are used or handled or the probability of an eye injury exists. At the MSU Power Plant, employees wear eye and face protection when transferring corrosives and handling water treatment chemicals.

Approved Safety glasses and Chemical Splash goggles can be found at General Stores and are carried by many vendors of laboratory supplies. Any safety glass certified to ANSI Z87.1 is acceptable. Goggles must be the chemical splash type with indirect vents and NOT the direct-vented impact goggles. Face shields shall be worn over the top of splash goggles. Employees should have their own pair of safety glasses as a minimum. The glasses should fit and the lenses should not be scratched or clouded. Tinted lenses are not recommended for normal indoor activities.

For wearers of prescription eyeglasses, these are not safety glasses unless they have both side shields and shatter resistant lenses. Prescription eyeglass wearers can take their prescription to Wallace Opticians to get prescription safety glasses. Alternatively, prescription eyeglass wearers may use the over-the-glass safety glasses . The choice of over-the-glass safety glasses or prescription safety glasses is at the discretion of the department.

Wallace Opticians
Phone: 517-332-8628
Frandor Shopping Center
3040 Vine Street, Lansing

For departmental purchases at Wallace Opticians, use a PO to obtain wholesale prices. Submit the names of employees and your departmental restrictions to Wallace Opticians. Instruct employees to visit Wallace Opticians to pick frames and lenses. The costs do not include any eye examination for purposes of checking your prescription. Employees should consult their health insurance provider regarding eye exam coverage.