Decoding Ratings for Safety Glasses

Decoding Ratings for Safety Glasses Header

The American National Standards Institute is the primary arbiter of regulations for the safety glasses industry. The nonprofit organization, which was established in 1918, has developed several exclusive ratings systems that are now the standard for manufacturers of safety glasses. When you see Z87 safety glasses, for example, these are glasses which have been tested, approved, and rated by ANSI. Read on for more information on the different ratings administered by ANSI.

Decoding ratings for safety glasses infographic


The most common rating offered by ANSI is the Z87.1 rating. This rating is awarded when a pair of safety glasses is tested for resistance to impact and passes the test. The test itself entails dropping a steel ball onto the glasses from a distance of 50 feet. The eyewear must remain intact in order to pass the test and earn a Z87 certification.


In addition to Z87 safety glasses, you may see safety glasses that feature a Z87+ rating. How do these differ from the original Z87 rating awarded by ANSI? Eyewear that receives a Z87+ rating passes the initial impact test as well as an additional test testing its resistance to high velocity impact. This test entails shooting a high speed steel ball at the eyewear and measuring the glasses’ resistance. If it passes, the glasses are considered high impact certified and thus Z87+ compliant.


If you see a D3 stamped on the lenses of your safety glasses in addition to the Z87 certification, you might wonder what this means. D3 approval means that the eyewear in question is approved to provide protection against chemical droplets and splashes. This is especially important for professionals working in any position where such exposure is a possibility.


Like the aforementioned D3 rating, the D4 rating indicates an additional level of protection beyond the Z87 safety glasses rating. D4 is used to indicate that a pair of safety glasses is approved to shield eyes against dust. Exposing eyes to dust can result in irritation and redness at best and infection or injury at worst. If your job entails any task which produces dust, investing in a pair of D4 rated safety glasses is a must.


Dust is dangerous for eyes, and fine dust is even worse. Fine dust puts individuals at a significant risk of conjunctivitis, which causes excessive mucus production and redness. Safety glasses are important to shield against this risk, and you should find ones that are D5 rated to ensure your eyes receive adequate protection.

Prescription Safety Glasses


Why should I choose Z87 safety glasses?

Choosing protective eyewear that is Z87 approved is a great way to ensure that your eyes are protected from high levels of impact. This is essential for any industrial job or other high-risk occupation.

Is Z87 the same as OSHA compliant?

The American National Standards Institute and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are two separate organizations with their own separate standards for protective products. Generally, though, safety glasses that are ANSI compliant are also OSHA approved.

Can I find Z87 safety glasses with prescription lenses?

Yes! Prescription safety glasses are ideal for individuals who need vision support in addition to protection for their eyes. You can find many styles of Z87 safety glasses that are available to be customized with your unique eyewear prescription lenses.

Why shouldn’t I wear prescription glasses under safety glasses?

Some people may wear prescription glasses under their safety glasses, but this is ill-advised. The objective of safety glasses is to shield eyes from potential hazards, and if another pair of glasses is in the way, the safety frames are less effective. Prescription safety glasses are a safer option.

What materials are Z87 safety glasses made from?

Z87 safety glasses can be made from many different types of materials, but some of the most common you’ll find include polycarbonate lenses that are designed to be shatterproof. Frames are often made from nylon-based materials because nylon is durable, flexible, and lightweight.

Protect Your Eyes with Safety Glasses

Safety glasses are a necessity across many industries. Finding the right pair can help you protect your eyes and minimize potential hazards. Find the pair that’s ANSI rated for the hazards you typically face. Safety Gear Pro carries a wide selection of safety glasses from the top brands. Call us at (832) 850-2979 or reach out online to find the protection you need.

Man Wearing Safety Glasses