Appropriate eye protection is defined by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z-87.1 standard. The most current edition is 1989. The standard describes both the design and performance criteria for various devices and the type of device to be used for particular operations.
OSHA requires (29 CFR 1910.133) that the employer provide these devices and that the employee use them. The devices must meet the ANSI Z-87.1-1968 standard. Hopefully OSHA will acknowledge the existence of the newer editions of this ANSI standard (1989). Polycarbonate lenses provide better protection but were not included by ANSI until the newer standard was issued.
Most chemical companies require that workers in laboratories wear industrial standard safety glasses (plain or prescription) as minimum protection. Some require side shields that are either permanently attached or removable. A few do not permit frames of conducting material (metal).
As the nature and degree of the hazard increases, the amount of protection used should also increase. Chemical splash safety goggles should be worn when:
(1) handling chemicals hazardous to the eyes,
(2) using chemicals which you don't know if they are hazardous to the eyes, and
(3) working with liquids which are hotter than 60 oC.
Note that safety goggles of the "impact type" are not suitable for chemical splash
protection. Impact safety goggles are intended to provide greater protection from solid
particles than safety glasses.
If the chemical or operation may injure the face or neck, a face shield should be
worn. According to the ANSI standard, face shields are to be used in addition to
chemical splash goggles. The use of contact lenses in the laboratory is encouraged by the ACS Committee on Chemical Safety, Prevent Blindness America, and most other eye care organizations.