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Eye Protection

This Policy was updated July 29, 2015 and applies to all 2016 Science Olympiad Rules in Divisions B & C. Please make a note of the new classification of Categories A, B and C. 

Purpose: This policy provides details regarding EYE PROTECTION in those events where an Event Rule requires Eye Protection. The objective is to choose the type of protection specific to the task.

Competitor/Coach Responsibilities: Competitors are responsible for providing their own protective eyewear. Science Olympiad is unable to determine the degree of hazard presented by equipment, materials and devices brought by the teams. Coaches must ensure the eye protection competitors bring is adequate for the hazard. All protective eyewear must bear the manufacturer's mark Z87. Teams without adequate eye protection must be given a chance to obtain eye protection if their assigned time permits. Teams must not be allowed to compete without adequate eye protection. This is non-negotiable.

Corresponding Standards: Protective eyewear used in Science Olympiad must be manufactured to meet the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard applicable at its time of manufacture. The current standard is ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015. Competitors, coaches and event supervisors are not required to acquire a copy of the standard. The information in this document is sufficient to comply with current standards. Water is not a hazardous liquid and its use does not require protective eyewear unless it is under pressure or substances that create a hazard are added.

Examples of Non-Compliant Eyewear:

  • Face shields/visors are secondary protective devices and are not approved in lieu of the primary eye protection devices below regardless of the type of vents they have.
  • Prescription Glasses containing safety glass should not be confused with safety spectacles. "Safety glass" indicates the glass is made to minimize shattering when it breaks. Unless these glasses bear the Z87 mark they are not approved for use.

Compliant Eyewear Categories: If an event requires eye protection, the rules will identify one of these three categories - as simple as ABC:

Category A

  • Description: Non-impact protection. They provide basic particle protection only
  • Corresponding ANSI designation/required marking: Z87
  • Examples: Safety glasses; Safety spectacles with side shields; and Particle protection goggles (these seal tightly to the face completely around the eyes and have direct vents around the sides, consisting of several small holes or a screen that can be seen through in a straight line)

Category B

  • Description: Impact protection. They provide protection from a high inertia particle hazard (high mass or velocity)
  • Corresponding ANSI designation/required marking: Z87+
  • Example: High impact safety goggles

Category C

  • Description: Indirect vent chemical/splash protection goggles. These seal tightly to the face completely around the eyes and have indirect vents constructed so that liquids do not have a direct path into the eye (or no vents at all). If you are able to see through the vent holes from one side to the other, they are NOT indirect vents
  • Corresponding ANSI designation/required marking: Z87 (followed by D3 is the most modern designation but, it is not a requirement)
  • Example: Indirect vent chemical/splash protection goggles


1. A goggle that bears the Z87+ mark and is an indirect vent chemical/splash protection goggle will qualify for all three Categories A, B & C

2. VisorGogs do not seal completely to the face, but are acceptable as indirect vent chemical/splash protection goggles