You know about the importance of wearing safety glasses to protect your eyes while you’re working on a job site. Whether it’s the potential for sparks, blowing debris, or flying bits of metal, there are numerous reasons why protective eyewear is a must.
MCR Safety proudly manufactures individual face shields at our U.S. plant.
Never overlook the importance of protecting your entire face. For example, if you are a welder, you need to worry about flying metal and sparks hitting your face. If you are working around splashing chemicals, you need your face fully protected. A proper face shield can mitigate potential dangers.
In this blog, we are going to highlight all the fundamentals for face shields that users should consider before making a purchase: standards, hazards, industries, types of materials, and some of our top-selling styles.
ANSI Standard Z87.1-2015
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has written a standard defining criteria for face shields: ANSI Z87.1-2015, the “American National Standard For Occupational And Educational Personal Eye And Face Protection Devices”. Safety+Health Magazine explains, “Two sections of this standard, 9 and 10, include specific guidelines for impact resistance, lens clarity, lens thickness and penetration resistance in regard to projectiles. In order to be compliant as eye and/or face protection, the device must be marked with ‘Z87.1.’” The standard requires that face shields be properly marked to indicate the hazards that they can protect against.
Safety+Health further describes the standard’s categorization of primary and secondary protection, as well as face shields:
- Primary protection – A device that may be worn alone or in conjunction with a secondary protector
- Secondary protection – A device that shall be worn only in conjunction with a primary protector
- Face shield – A protective device commonly worn to shield the wearer's face, or portions thereof in addition to the eyes, from certain hazards. Face shields are secondary protection and shall be used only in conjunction with primary protection.
Again, it is important to note that according to the current ANSI standards, face shields are considered “secondary” protection, requiring the use of protective eyewear or goggles as well. Its status as “secondary” protection doesn’t mean that you should skip wearing a face shield, though! Face shields protect your face from flying debris. Together with safety eyewear, a face shield can provide comprehensive protection for your entire face.
Purpose of Face Shields - Hazards
Face shields cover the facial area from the eyebrows to below the chin and the entire width of the wearer’s head. They are typically secured over or around the head with an adjustable band. Workers need face shields across a multitude of industries to ensure reliable protection from numerous hazards.
Here are some:
- Hazardous liquids
- Flying particles, flying debris, and flying wood chips
- High temperatures
- Hot molten metal
- Hot sparks
- Metal chips, projectiles, and shavings hitting the face
Flying metal shards are a concern when cutting metal.
When they are worn for protection against UV light, face shields must be specifically designed to protect the face and eyes from hazardous radiation. When face shields are used for chemical protection or UV protection, they must comply with ANSI standard Z87.1, which we will talk about shortly.
It’s important to remember that face shield visors ARE NOT shatterproof. When large objects and/or objects traveling at high rates of speed strike face shields, the visor may break or be compromised and cause injury to the wearer’s face or eyes. Workers should avoid areas where such hazards exist or use extreme caution if they can’t be avoided entirely. Routinely check face shields for damage, and do not wear a face shield that has sustained damage.
Face Shield Industries and Applications
We want to share with you some of the most common industries and applications for which face shields can be worn to protect workers from potential hazards:
• Automotive: Workers grinding out metal is everyday occurrence when manufacturing trailers and vehicles.
• Chemical Handling and Chemical Manufacturing: Workers who handle any number of specific chemicals need to worry about liquids and highly reactive materials splashing into their face.
• Construction: Anyone exposed to impact hazards, flying jobsite debris, or dust should consider wearing a face shield.
• Railroads: Maintenance workers in service, repair, and mechanical facilities require face shields from flying projectiles.
• Refineries: Working during turnarounds involves cutting metal and painting with solvents. Face shield protection is a must.
• Shipyards: Shipyard work is traditionally dangerous. Workers are on constant guard from contact with flying particles, molten metal, chemicals.
• Laboratory: Workers who handle potentially hazardous biological materials need their face fully covered.
• Landscaping: Dust, flying rocks, sticks, and tree branches are always close by, meaning workers need the entire face protected.
• Metal Fabrication: Individuals who work with machines and around other physical hazards including furnaces, molten metal or glass, or heat, sparks, and glare should protect their faces by wearing a face shield.
• Welding: Welders engaged in any welding-related activity, like cutting and grinding metal, should wear face shields. Face shields provide protection from the intense heat, optical radiation, and sparks from arc-welding equipment.
• Woodworking: Flying pieces of wood and wood dust are constant concerns in this industry.
Face Shield Materials
In this section, we’re going to talk in-depth about three of the materials that MCR Safety uses in its face shields: acetate, PETG, and polycarbonate. The strengths of each material should be taken into account when making a selection, in order to provide the best overall solution for different applications workers encounter. There are reasons why each of these face shield materials exist and are in use: MCR Safety wants to provide you the exact PPE for your particular needs.
Acetate face shields are used in chemical applications where optical clarity is needed. Cellulose acetate is a plant-based plastic that is hypoallergenic. Acetate was first used for eyewear in the late 1940s because of the brittleness and other problems encountered with previously used plastics.
Acetate face shields offer the following benefits:
- It is well-suited for applications requiring good optical clarity and rigidity
- It does not become limp or distorted under normal temperatures
- It offers high impact resistance and withstands crazing or cracking over a wide range of temperatures under normal stress
- It is an excellent shield for grease and oils
- It maintains flexibility over long periods
494400 is one of MCR Safety’s top-selling acetate face shields.
PETG is a thermoplastic polyester that provides excellent toughness, chemical resistance, and is easily die-cut for face shield use. PETG offers excellent protection at a competitive price point. PETG is great for face shields because:
- It incredibly durable
- It is highly impact-resistant
- It can be sterilized
181640 is one of MCR Safety’s top-selling PETG face shields.
Polycarbonate is everywhere! It is a naturally transparent, amorphous thermoplastic with applications beyond eyewear lenses. However, polycarbonate has numerous benefits that make it a particularly great choice for safety eyewear:
- It is able to internally transmit light almost as effectively as glass
- It is lighter than glass
- It possesses a natural UV filter
- It can withstand impacts far greater than many other commonly used plastics
181540 is one of MCR Safety’s top-selling polycarbonate face shields.
Face Shield Materials Comparison Chart
MCR Safety carries both clear and tinted face shields so that you have choices when you are deciding which PPE is right for you. Tinted face shields are usually used in situations where anti-glare lenses are necessary, like working on pipelines in the sun or on a construction site outdoors. Cutting and grinding applications are common places for tinted face shields to be used.
MCR Safety offers medium green polycarbonate face shields (181541) and dark green polycarbonate face shields (181542). Keep in mind, neither should be used for welding. It is important to note: tinted shields offer reduced luminous transmittance, so workers could be exposed to increased levels of UV and IR radiation due to pupillary dilation.
MCR Safety produces a variety of different headgear options for use with the above face shields. Here are some of our offerings, just click on the images for more details:
Bracket for hard hat mounting
Ratchet take-up polycarbonate headgear
Headgear with superior protection
All-Purpose Headgear and Face Shield
Featuring Max 6 anti-fog technology, 6 times better performing anti-fog technology
When users purchase an all-in-one face shield, they expect a lot of premium features. Our 104PF delivers. It comes with impressive high-end functionality, including a Max 6 lens that provides 6X greater anti-fog performance than the average lens.
• Headgear with integrated 1-piece molded clear face shield: ease of being all-in one
• Max 6 Anti-Fog coating: offers 6X greater fog-resistance for hot or humid conditions and is scratch-resistant, unlike uncoated options including the face shields mentioned above
• Better optical quality: steel tool polished, meaning excellent visibility and no distortion.
• Ratchet action adjustment: easy-to-adjust headband ensures comfort and ease of wear.
• Terry cloth sweatband: assists in hot climates and during intense work.
• Chin and side of face protection: extra coverage and protection from flying metal chips or splashing chemicals.
• Natural curved shield: face shield is naturally curved rather than comprised of individual folded face shields. Provides a higher degree of overall protection.
• Premium materials: ensure lightweight feel but deliver heavyweight protection.
Individual Max 6 face shields are now available, part number 181540PF
Protecting the Eyes and Face
It’s important to ensure that not only are your eyes protected on the job, but that your entire face is. In accordance with ANSI Standard Z87.1-2015, face shields used in conjunction with safety glasses or goggles provide superior protection against a variety of hazards, including splashes from chemical or biological agents, glare, sparks, and flying debris.
For over 45 years, MCR Safety has proven to be a world-leader in gloves, glasses, and garments. Whether it’s on the shop floor, an oil rig, or a construction site, we are there providing solutions to workplace hazards. It’s all part of our commitment to protect people.
No matter your industry, we have the personal protection equipment you need.
We Protect People!
For more information, browse our website, request a catalog, find a distributor, or give us a call at 800-955-6887.