can you explain the ansi z871 safety standard for welding helmets
can you explain the ansi z871 safety standard for welding helmets

In this article, we will shed light on the ANSI Z87.1 safety standard for welding helmets. This standard serves as a crucial guideline for ensuring the protection and safety of welding professionals. By understanding the requirements and specifications outlined by ANSI Z87.1, we can better comprehend the importance of choosing the right welding helmet for various applications. Let’s explore the key elements of this safety standard and how it contributes to a safer and more secure welding environment.

What is the ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard?

Purpose of the Standard

The ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard is a set of requirements established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to ensure the safety and protection of individuals using welding helmets. This standard specifically addresses the performance and quality criteria that welding helmets need to meet to effectively safeguard the eyes and face of welders. By adhering to these standards, manufacturers can provide helmets that offer optimal protection, durability, and performance.

Overview of the Standard

The ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard outlines various specifications that welding helmets must meet to be considered compliant. These requirements focus on critical areas such as impact resistance, optical quality, protection against radiation and optical radiation, coverage area, lens shade numbers, eye protection, face shield configuration, durability, marking, and maintenance and use instructions. By covering all these aspects, the standard ensures that the helmets offer comprehensive protection and reliability under the demanding conditions of welding operations.

Why is the ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard important for Welding Helmets?

Protecting Against Eye and Face Injuries

Welding tasks expose workers to various hazards, including intense light, sparks, flying metal fragments, and harmful radiation. The ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard plays a crucial role in protecting the welder’s eyes and face by mandating specific requirements for helmet design and construction. These standards address the impact resistance of the helmet, ensuring that it can withstand projectiles and flying debris. By properly protecting the wearer, the standard significantly reduces the risk of eye and face injuries and their potential long-term effects.

Ensuring Optimal Performance and Durability

Welding helmets need to withstand the harsh conditions of welding operations without compromising performance or durability. The ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard ensures that helmets meet stringent criteria for optical quality, maintaining clear vision for welders. It also requires sufficient coverage area to protect the entire face from hazards and establishes lens shade numbers to regulate the amount of light transmitted through the helmet. With these performance and durability requirements in place, welders can trust their helmets to provide reliable protection throughout their work.

Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Regulations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforces regulations to safeguard the health and safety of workers in the United States. The ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard is recognized by OSHA as an acceptable means of ensuring eye and face protection in welding operations. By complying with the ANSI Z87.1 standard, companies ensure that their welding helmets meet the necessary regulatory requirements, helping them avoid penalties and maintain a safe work environment.

Key Requirements of the ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard

Impact Resistance

One of the essential requirements of the ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard is the ability of the welding helmet to withstand impact. This is crucial to protect against flying debris, sparks, and other hazards. Helmets must pass specific impact tests to prove their resistance to the forces commonly encountered in welding operations.

Optical Quality

The standard includes criteria for optical quality to ensure clear vision for welders while maintaining eye protection. The helmets must meet specific clarity and distortion requirements to provide a clear view of the workpiece and minimize eye strain. This improves both safety and the quality of the welds produced.

Protection Against Radiation and Optical Radiation

Welding emits various types of radiation, including ultraviolet (UV) light, infrared (IR) radiation, and visible light. The ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard mandates that welding helmets effectively block or filter out these harmful radiations to protect the eyes and face of the wearer.

Coverage Area

To provide comprehensive protection, the ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard specifies the minimum coverage area a welding helmet must offer. This ensures that all vulnerable areas of the face, including the eyes, nose, and cheeks, are adequately shielded from potential hazards.

Lens Shade Numbers

The standard defines lens shade numbers for different welding processes. These numbers determine the amount of light transmitted through the welding helmet. By assigning appropriate shade numbers, the standard ensures that welders are adequately protected from intense light and harmful radiation associated with their specific welding tasks.

Eye Protection

The ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard addresses the requirements for eye protection within welding helmets. This includes criteria for protecting against impacts, particles, and other flying objects. Additionally, the standard sets specifications for side protection to shield the eyes from hazards coming from unexpected angles.

Face Shield Configuration

The configuration of the face shield, including its size, shape, and attachment mechanism, is an important aspect of the standard. It ensures that the shield properly covers the face and stays securely in place during welding operations, guaranteeing maximum protection for the wearer.

Durability and Marking

To ensure long-lasting performance, the ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard requires welding helmets to be durable under harsh working conditions. It sets criteria for materials, construction methods, and testing cycles to ensure that the helmets can withstand the rigors of daily use. Additionally, the standard mandates that compliant helmets are marked with recognizable symbols and labeling to verify their compliance and facilitate identification.

Maintenance and Use Instructions

Helmets complying with the ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard must come with comprehensive maintenance and use instructions. These instructions guide the users on proper care, cleaning, and storage of the helmet, ensuring its continued effectiveness and longevity. They also provide guidance on how to properly wear and adjust the helmet for optimal comfort and protection.

Testing and Certification of Welding Helmets to ANSI Z87.1


Manufacturers have the option of self-certifying their welding helmets to meet the ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard. This involves testing their products against the specified requirements and keeping records to verify compliance. Self-certification allows manufacturers to efficiently bring compliant products to the market without involving a third-party certification organization.

Third-Party Certification

Alternatively, manufacturers can choose to have their welding helmets tested and certified by an independent third-party certification organization. These organizations evaluate the products against the stringent requirements of the ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard to ensure compliance. Third-party certification provides an additional level of trust and confidence in the quality and performance of the welding helmets.

Differences between ANSI Z87.1 and ANSI Z87.1+

Increased Impact Requirements

The ANSI Z87.1+ standard builds upon the original ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard and includes increased impact requirements. This updated standard demands helmets to undergo more rigorous impact testing to enhance protection against flying objects and other hazards. Welding helmets certified to ANSI Z87.1+ offer an additional level of safety and are recommended for high-risk welding applications.

Additional Testing for Splash and Droplet Resistance

Another notable difference between ANSI Z87.1 and ANSI Z87.1+ is the inclusion of testing for splash and droplet resistance in the latter. Welding operations can involve the use of chemicals or liquids that may pose a risk to the face and eyes. ANSI Z87.1+ addresses this concern by requiring helmets to undergo specific testing to ensure protection against splashes and droplets.

Considerations for Choosing a Welding Helmet that Complies with ANSI Z87.1

Job Application

When selecting a welding helmet that complies with the ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard, consider the specific job application. Different welding processes and environments have varying requirements for lens shade numbers, coverage area, and durability. Understanding the demands of the job will help identify the most suitable helmet that offers the necessary protection and performance.

Comfort and Fit

Since welding helmets are worn for extended periods, comfort and fit are vital considerations. Look for helmets that have adjustable headbands, padding, and a balanced weight distribution to ensure a comfortable fit. It is important for the helmet to sit securely on the head without causing any discomfort or hindrance to the welder’s movement.

Budget and Affordability

Budget is an important factor to consider when choosing a welding helmet. However, it is crucial to prioritize safety and ensure compliance with the ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard. While there are a range of options available at different price points, it is recommended to invest in a helmet that meets all necessary safety requirements, even if it means spending a little more. Protecting the eyes and face should always be the top priority.

FAQs about the ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard for Welding Helmets

What is the purpose of ANSI Z87.1?

The purpose of the ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard is to establish the requirements for welding helmets to ensure the safety and protection of the eyes and face of welders. It sets performance criteria for impact resistance, optical quality, protection against radiation, coverage area, lens shade numbers, and more.

How can I ensure my welding helmet complies with ANSI Z87.1?

To ensure your welding helmet complies, look for the ANSI Z87.1 certification label on the helmet. This label indicates that the helmet has been tested and certified to meet the requirements of the standard. You can also refer to the manufacturer’s documentation and specifications to confirm compliance.

What are the lens shade numbers specified by ANSI Z87.1?

The lens shade numbers specified by ANSI Z87.1 vary based on the specific welding process. For example, shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) typically requires a lens shade number of 10-14, while gas metal arc welding (GMAW) may require a lens shade number of 9-13. The specific shade number for each process can be found in the ANSI Z87.1 standard.

Are there different classes of protection provided by ANSI Z87.1?

No, the ANSI Z87.1 Safety Standard does not establish different classes of protection. The standard sets uniform requirements for all welding helmets, ensuring a consistent level of safety and protection across the industry. Compliance with the standard ensures that a welding helmet provides the necessary protection against eye and face injuries and meets the specified performance criteria.