Safety Glasses Regulations

Hey, I was just wondering if there are any regulations on safety glasses in the pits and the competition, because our team is thinking of using glasses whose color matches our team colors.

Thanks in advance for the replies!

Well, last year, the rule was that 1) you HAD to wear them and 2) they had to be ANSI-approved and 3) rose, blue, and amber were the only allowed tints. Side shields are a must. Individuals with ANSI-approved normal glasses (with side shields) may wear those; otherwise, goggles had to go over them.

(Paraphrased from 2008 FRC Game Manual, Section 3, At the Events, located at Rules are for the 2008 competition season and may or may not change for the 2009 season. I would suspect not for this one, though.)

Just out of curiosity, so all of the safety glasses on the following page would be legal?

Per last years rules as Eric stated above (note: this could change this year) the clear and amber ones on that page were legal while the smoke and mirror ones were not.

Use time-tested safety gear :smiley:

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Hmm…My team wants the mirror ones, mainly cause they look really cool, but I guess we’ll get both, just in case at competition they ask us to remove them.

Remember what the rule says:

I don’t see anything in there about mirror tints being allowed at competition, cool or not.

If you have the ability to wait till the start of build season when the new rules are released that would be the best bet. I mentored a team for a few years where the smoke/shaded safety glasses were part of the team image in 2006 however they had to change to amber due to the rules change in 2007. You can’t read the guys at GDCs mind so unless you have a real reason to buy them now I would wait till January. For all we know there could be some crazy rule that you must a face shield instead of safety glasses or something, the point is we just don’t know.

Once again Eric quoted the rule that states rose, blue, amber, and non-tinted. As much as this rule seems to just be a step to control us it does have a purpose. Have you ever tried to walk down a poorly lit hallway with shades on? Maybe you can wear something else without getting asked to remove them but to me that goes against the spirit of the rule. After all, even if you don’t get “caught” breaking the rule you are still break it.

I’d save the money and bet against mirrored glasses. I strongly suspect they will not be allowed.

I second or third the comment to wait and see! Mirrored or shaded are usually frowned upon with the logic being that you should to be able to see the eyes of the person you are working with. That way you know if they are seeing the hazard as you do, or if they are looking away and are distracted.

Choose your glasses carefully. We ran into a major problem at championships in April with our glasses. They had a slight gold sheen to them which was to reduce the glare off of the plexiglas field divider, and the safety advisors (after we wore them at two regionals) determined that they were not clear enough. The fun part was the when we went to buy new glasses at the FIRST store on site, they were selling the same ones we were wearing. :ahh:

After ~5 years of wearing clunky goggles over my regular glasses, I’m finally going to get real safety prescription glasses with the side protectors. The place I’m going to (attached to a major University in Boston :wink: ) has safety glasses that go to a different standard than ANSI; I forget the initials they used, but they claim its equal. After searching on-line for the ANSI standards and these standards, I’m wondering if it’s worth the bother to match them up and just get them. But why don’t they don’t have any “cool” glasses?

And while I agree about the use of safety glasses, is ANSI the only standard to go by? Can I go with an equal standard?

And how come there are not more safety glasses in stores that fit over regular glasses? You’d a think with all us people with glasses there would be a bigger market.

We only deal in real stuff here – no smoke and mirror magic! (sorry) :slight_smile:

I am unaware of any other standard that is officially recognized. The OSHA regulations that govern the use and selection of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), explicitly state that protective eyeware must conform to ANSI Z87.1.


Protective eye and face devices purchased after July 5, 1994 shall comply with ANSI Z87.1-1989, “American National Standard Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection,” which is incorporated by reference as specified in Sec. 1910.6

That’s what I was thinking – and afraid of. I’ll have to talk to one of the licensed salespeople, not the student-salesperson. It took a week for the catalog to come in and then I went on vacation, etc, etc, so I don’t remember what their standard was. I get a good deal (free!) thru my company to go there, but I do want proper protection. (I’m not part of the university, by the way.)

Heh, the funny thing is, in spite of this place across the street from the university and all the labs, plus being the official eye doctors and store for the university, the student said they don’t get any business from the labs for the safety – they all go to another specialized store in Cambridge. :confused:

And isn’t ANSI updating their standard? When I was searching on-line for their standards there were some mentions of a newer (as yet unapproved) standard.

ANSI Z87.1-1989 is the current, and only (if I remember from last years rules … I don’t have a copy in front of me) allowable standard for safety glasses in FIRST. Any other standard would not be allowed or accepted (unless they change the rules).

If ANSI is making another standard, then it will probably be a few years before it is accepted in the work place (phase in time).

ANSI Z87.1 was updated and published in 2003. However, as OSHA still references the 1989 version, it is that version which is considered law. I expect that OSHA will eventually recognize the 2003 update, but the wheels of government turn very slowly.

From what I can see, there were not many significant changes. For a synopsis of those changes, check out the following:

One further comment on safety glasses: While a nod to fashion is OK, remember the real purpose, which is protection for your eyes. While almost all safety glasses* will do that, you have to wear them to get that protection! Seems kind of obvious, but if your safety glasses are not comfortable, or if they distort your vision (and cause an eye-strain headache), you won’t want to wear them.

The point is: Pick glasses that are ANSI Approved, and that are both comfortable and with low-distortion lenses.

How many times have we seen participants wearing their forehead protectors, complaining of poor fit and vision?


Keep in mind that OSHA and ANSI are specific to the USA. There are MANY other standards for safety glasses that are officially recognized, including CSA Z94.3

Fortunately there is sufficient similarity between national standards that many glasses meet multiple standards, and so long as the glasses appear to provide reasonable protection and meet the FRC rules on tint vs. shade and mirroring, I have yet to see anyone upset that the glasses were certified by a foreign regulatory body.


Every year our pit crew gets these:

All others use these if they feel like buying them-

Compared to most, I’ve got a pretty big head. I found a pair of safety glasses at Northern Tool for about $3 (see them here, or here, or here) that fit me well–they flex to keep the glasses from pinching my head, which makes them infinitely more comfortable for wearing over extended periods (read: most of the final week before ship, regionals, etc.).

At IRI I was talking with Greg Needel, who happens to wear a pair of DeWalt safety glasses for some strange reason (it’s almost like he works for them!). It turns out that mine are a knockoff of the DeWalt glasses; both pairs fit my head great.

I’ve worn smaller safety glasses, and they hurt after a day of coaching. Of course, I don’t want to wind up like Carol, so I grin and bear it. Sometimes, students I’ve worked with have been less disciplined–therefore, I take no chances with going for uncomfortable ones.

Moral of the story:

-Make sure the glasses are ANSI approved.
-Make sure the glasses are legal under the 2009 FRC rules.
-Make sure you can wear them for twelve hours at a time–some members of your team will at a regional.

We once had an incident in the shop where a few carbide teeth came off a saw blade. One struck the student’s safety goggles and punched a hole partway through. If he had not been wearing them, it would have struck his eye right about in the center of his iris. :eek: