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Working with CSA and ANSI

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) are the national bodies that set minimum standards of acceptance for everything from acoustics to plastics to safety equipment in their respective countries. These standards are used by many industries and by government to determine whether a product or equipment is safe for use in its particular application.

The CSA standards Z94.3-02 and Z94.3-07, among others, set a minimum standard for the quality of frames and lenses (Eye and Face Protectors) that must be used. These standards dictate the way the frame joints and hinges are produced, the type of metal that can be used, the minimum sizes, the thickness and impact resistance of the lenses, the optical quality and level of aberrations that are acceptable and much more.

After CSA and ANSI set the standards for products and equipment, it is up to separate government bodies to determine which of the standards they require as minimums to apply to products their groups will use. For example, Occupational Health and Safety, sets out which CSA and ANSI standards must be met at a minimum for the personal protective equipment workers use on job sites in Canada and the USA. There are National OH&S Regulations as well as individual Provincial OH&S Regulations that set out province specific stipulations. For example, in Alberta’s OH&S regulations it states; “229(2.3) Despite subsection (2), prescription safety eyewear may consist of frames that meet the requirements of ANSI Standard Z87.2-2003, Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices provided the lenses meet the requirements of CSA Standard Z94.3-07, Eye and Face Protectors.” This means that in Alberta, OH&S Regulations state that your prescription eyewear meets minimum safety requirements if the frames meet the standards set out in ANSI Z87.2-2003 and the lenses meet the standards set out in CSA Z94.3-07. It is CSA and ANSI that dictate what the requirements in standards Z94.3-07 and Z87.2-2003 actually are.

What does this all mean for our clients?

Thanks to the standards set by CSA and ANSI and the regulations set out by government as to which standards apply to which uses of the products, you the consumer can rest assured that as long as you are following the regulations, your safety eyewear will meet these standards and therefore your risk of harm is greatly reduced. The proper use of the product is also key to its ability to protect.

At F.O. Safety Eyewear, we work hard to be familiar with all aspects of CSA, ANSI and OH&S as they relate to prescription and non-prescription safety eyewear. These regulations and standards can be difficult to read and understand so we pride ourselves on being there as support for you in determining what safety eyewear is necessary for your application. Our knowledge and understanding of these matters allows us to assure you that the eyewear you are getting from us meets these standards and regulations. This leads to decreased workplace injuries, decreased workers compensation claims and more satisfied employees, all of which lead to greater profits.

“Between 2003 and 2007, WorkSafeBC accepted more than 3,600 disability claims for eye injuries, costing more than $3 million. In Alberta, the number is higher with over 5,000 eye injury claims between 2004 and 2008, and close to $10 million in associated costs” (CNIB statistics, Oct 2010). CNIB also states that 90% of these eye injuries are avoidable through the proper use of appropriate safety eyewear.

What is new in the safety eyewear industry?

Many of us are very familiar with the standard prescription safety eyewear frame styles. Very basic frame styles but typically slightly bigger and heavier then the dresswear equivalents. These frames have come a long way in the last few years as technologies have improved. We at F.O. Safety Eyewear provide this type of eyewear through our use of the OnGuard collection (the only safety frame line endorsed by the Optometrists Association). We are constantly reviewing the product line to assure that we are carrying the top models available within this line and that the models we carry address a wide variety of workers needs and fits.

What is new though, is that over the last couple of years, sealed safety eyewear has broken into the optical industry in Canada. The need for sealed eyewear has always been here but the ability to produce it for prescription eyewear has been the issue, up to now.

Sealed eyewear typically is much more of a wrap style of frame whereas prescriptions are designed to provide optimal optics in flatter frames. However, a couple of years ago, we at F.O. Safety Eyewear discovered a product line called Wiley X that has allowed us to bring this wrapped sealed eyewear to Canada, in non prescription and prescription alike. This eyewear has been in the USA for some time. In fact Wiley X provides safety eyewear to many divisions of the military and police in the USA.

The use of this sealed eyewear can greatly decrease the number of eye injuries your workplace sees. Sealed eyewear protects your workers from flying debris (dirt, dust, metal shavings, etc), smoke, spraying fluids, glare and wind. In the first year of using sealed eyewear on their worksites, one of our larger clients saw a reduction in these types of eye injuries of 80%. This significantly reduced their costs.

The proper fit of this type of eyewear (and any type of eyewear really) is critical to its success. A proper fit must factor in the environment the worker will be in, their prescription and vision needs, their facial structure and their optical measurements. A proper fit maximizes the success of the eyewear including comfort, vision and protection ability. At F.O. Safety Eyewear, we have heavily trained our staff to be familiar with all aspects of properly fitting sealed eyewear and why this is different from fitting regular eyewear. We have done this so we can assure our clients that they are not only receiving sealed eyewear, but that they are receiving sealed eyewear that is fit to maximize its adaptability, its optics and its benefits.

Combine this with the fact that we have built our very own state-of-the-art, fully digital manufacturing lab and we can provide our clients with sealed eyewear that still provides great optics. The use of our digital lens products, including specific technologies for manufacturing wrapped eyewear lenses, allows us to greatly minimize the distortions one can experience when switching to wrapped eyewear. Having this state-of-the-art digital lab also allows us to bring product to market more cost effectively than any of our competitors and provides our clients quicker delivery with more direct quality control.

At F.O. Safety Eyewear Inc., we believe strongly in innovation and adaptability, and these compulsions manifest themselves in bringing the best product and service possible to all of our Rx safety eyewear clients, irrespective of size or complexity.