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Minnesota Goggle Safety Regulations


Minnesota Eye Protective Devices Legislation (126.20)

Subdivision 1. Every person shall wear industrial quality eye protective devices when participating in, observing or performing any function in connection with, any courses or activities taking place in eye protection areas, as defined in subdivision 3, of any school, college, university or other educational institution in the state.

Subdivision 2. Any student failing to comply with such requirements may be temporarily suspended from participation in said course and the registration of a student for such course may be canceled for willful, flagrant, or repeated failure to observe the above requirements.

Subdivision 3. Eye protection areas shall include, but not be limited to, vocational or industrial arts shops, science or other school laboratories, or school or institutional facilities in which activities are taking place and materials are being used involving:

(a) Hot molten metals;
(b) Milling, sawing, turning, shaping, cutting, grinding or stamping of any solid materials;
(c) Heat treatment, tempering or kiln firing of any metal or other materials;
(d) Gas or electric arc welding;
(e) Repair or servicing of any vehicle or mechanical equipment;
(f) Any other activity or operation involving work in any area that is potentially hazardous to the eye;

Subdivision 4. [Repealed, 1993 c 224 art 12 s 32]

Subdivision 5. Any person desiring protective-corrective lenses instead devices supplied by the educational institution shall pay for, procure, keep, and use industrial-quality eye protective devices.

Subdivision 6. "Industrial quality eye-protective devices," as used in this section means devices meeting American National Standards, Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection promulgated by the American National Standards Institute, Inc.

In simple terms this law states that any time that a risk of eye injury exists, all persons in the same room or other enclosed area (lab/lecture combination room) must wear "industrial quality eye protective devices."

From The Total Science Safety Software, Jakel, Inc.
"INDUSTRIAL QUALITY EYE PROTECTIVE DEVICES" must meet certain requirements of durability to be so classified. The OSHA regulations established in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI Z87.1, 1987) now require the device to maintain its integrity when impacted by a one-inch ball bearing dropped from a height of 50 inches. In addition eyewear must maintain its integrity when struck by a 1/4 " steel ball traveling at 150 ft./second. The new regulations also allow innovations in design to encourage wearer acceptance. To assure that equipment meets such qualifications, the teacher does not have to test every batch of goggles he/she receives. Instead, the teacher should merely look for certain markings placed upon the faceplate and the frame certifying that such requirements have been met. The faceplate shall bear the manufacturers' trademark, while the frame shall bear the trademark plus a Z87 logo (if manufactured after 1979).

GOGGLES, for most school science settings, should be of the "splash" type. They should seal comfortably to the face. Ventilated frames, or specially coated lenses, are generally required to prevent fogging. Scratched faceplates compromise goggle integrity and should be disposed of. A scratch deep enough to get your fingernail into should be eliminated immediately, as integrity has been seriously compromised.

It is best for students to have their own goggles to prevent possible transmission of diseases. If this is impossible, then lenses should be cleaned regularly for clear vision, comfort and medical purposes. James K. Byrnes, safety equipment expert, recommends a wet application with high strength tissue for heavy cleaning; dry tissue cleaning with tissue alone for light jobs; and a liquid cleaner containing anti-static properties to prevent dust clinging to plastic lenses. Periodic, regular sterilization of such equipment is also encouraged in manufacturer specified ozone or radiation cabinets. Recommend CLEANING OR SANITIZING these devices in a cleaner-sanitizer solution or by washing with soap and water. Another convenient, effective cleaning option is to purchase INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED ALCOHOL PADS at your local pharmacy and have students wipe down the goggles before wearing them. The alcohol pads are saturated with 70% Isopropyl alcohol and have been used effectively for years in preparing skin areas for medical injections. They are effective against most skin bacteria. The pads cost approximately three cents each, are sterile, and easy to use and dispose of. Above all, educators should consult with local physicians and/or state officials concerning these and other approved options.

Visitors to the laboratory should also be required to wear eye protective equipment. That is an important point to remember the next time your building principal pays a visit to your lab.

STUDENTS WHO REPEATEDLY FAIL TO COMPLY WITH THIS REGULATION may be removed from participation in the class. This is also a moral responsibility of the teacher. If a student chooses simply to ignore these rules, it is the responsibility of the teacher to remove him/her from the class. This would be a better alternative to loss of the student's eyesight and a large liability suit against the district and/or teacher.

It is the TEACHER'S DECISION as to whether an activity presents sufficient potential for eye injury to merit the wearing of cover goggles. It is best to use reasonable and prudent judgment and foreseeability in attempting to assess such dangers. Would your colleagues, textbook, and professional societies recommend conducting the activity in the manner you are with or without eye protective equipment in place? Error on the side of being overly cautious.

It is also wise to periodically enforce the value and need for cover goggles. This can be accomplished through placement of SIGNS in strategic locations about the room. In addition, it is suggested that teachers instruct students in the proper use and value of the equipment at the beginning of the school year, re-emphasize it when the first unit requiring eye protective equipment is encountered, and again when the first student allows the goggles to adorn the top of his/her head or hang uselessly about his/her neck.

Many students object to wearing safety goggles due to the discomfort created by elastic headbands. Teachers replacing the elastic bands with Velcro straps can address this. This enables students to set the tightness level on their head to a comfortable, yet safe, level. In addition students indicate that the goggles are not very attractive. Staining them light colors using RIT fabric dye can make the goggles much more appealing to students. Be careful not to dye them too dark, as it will reduce, or eliminate peripheral vision. In addition, since faceplates will also take on some of the color, teachers may want to remove the plate from the molding before dying them. Teachers must be encouraged to test the dying process BEFORE doing them with their new equipment, so that they know what to expect.

STREET GLASSES may provide frontal protection to the eye, however, deflected particles or droplets can easily enter the eye and cause damage. Cover them with approved goggles or, in cases where addition protection is needed, with faceshields.

PHOTOCHROMIC OR PHOTOGRAY LENSES may not have to be removed when in the laboratory, if some common precautions are observed. Close the windows and/or have the student sit with his/her back to the source of outside radiation that is causing the lenses to darken. Also allow the student time for the lenses to lighten if he/she is coming immediately to the laboratory from outside. Again cover these glasses with approved goggles.

CONTACT LENSES are worn by an increasing percentage of young people throughout our country. PREVENT BLINDNESS AMERICA (PBA), formerly the NATIONAL SOCIETY TO PREVENT BLINDNESS (NSPB) estimates that two million Americans are fitted with contacts every year. They have proven to be much more effective in addressing oblique astigmatism, irregular astigmatism, spatial adaptation, depth perception, eliminating lens reflections, eliminating interference with such instruments as microscopes, eliminating problems association with perspiration when wearing spectacles, increasing a person's visual field, and in eliminating interference with safety equipment items such as goggles.

In April 1994, the Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA) published its Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for General Industry Standard (29 CFR 1910; Final Rule). Part of the preamble stated:

"OSHA believes that contact lenses do not pose additional hazards to the wearer, and has determined that additional regulation addressing the use of contact lenses is unnecessary. The Agency wants to make it clear, however, that contact lenses are not eye protective devices. If eye hazards are present, appropriate eye protection must be worn instead of, or in conjunction with, contact lenses."

Some health protection offices of colleges and universities, along with the NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL, NATIONAL SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF BLINDNESS, and AMERICAN OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION, recommend contact lenses not be used in laboratories unless the student has an eye condition that requires their use. If it is absolutely necessary to wear contacts, the person should wear non-vented, specially marked chemical splash goggles.

As of 1995, the American Chemical Society had no "official" policy statement on the use of contact lenses in the workplace where chemicals are used. In Safety in Academic Chemical Laboratories, they do make the statement:
"Wearing of contact lenses in the laboratory is normally forbidden because contact lenses can hold foreign materials against the cornea. Furthermore, they may be difficult to remove in the case of a splash. Soft contact lenses present a particular hazard because they can absorb and retain chemical vapors. If the use of contact lenses is required for therapeutic reasons, fitted goggles must also be worn."

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