Safety Glasses

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Science Olympiad has provided definitions of the various kinds of safety glasses that are to be used in events. However, the explanations do not provide any pictures of the glasses in question. To clear up any confusion, read the definitions again and look at pictures of these different types of glasses.

Class 1

File:Protection 1 and 2.jpg
These glasses can be treated as 1 or 2 as they have removable side-shields.

A basic type of glasses, no side shields, no nothing. These devices provide protection against flying particles coming from in front of the wearer. They rarely meet requirements for Science Olympiad events.

Class 2

Class 2 glasses.

A basic type of glasses with side shields. This type of protection guards against particles from the side as well as the front. Due to multiple teams competing in close proximity at the same time, this is usually the lowest level of protection suitable in Science Olympiad events. You are most likely to see these in a workshop.

Class 3

This eye protection has a shield that fits tightly to the face on all sides (including top & bottom). These goggles have vents consisting of small holes or screen that may allow a straight line path for liquids to enter the eye (you can see through the holes).

Class 4

Class 4 glasses.

These devices have covers over the vents, eliminating any straight line path for foreign matter to enter the eyes.

Any type of eye protection may be worn in place of those types listed above it, so it's sometimes a good strategy to play it safe and use Class 4 glasses when the rules state only class 2 is required. Chemical/Splash Protection Goggles may be worn instead of any of the other types.

Class 5

This class simple refers to any eye-protection that meets the ANSI standard for High Impact resistance. So, the form factor is irrelevant, as either goggles or glasses can meet this specification. Highimpact.jpeg

Other Information

Each of the above types of eye protection is available in either Basic Impact or High Impact Protection versions. Devices marked with "Z87" provide Basic Impact Protection. Devices that provide High Impact Protection are marked with a "+" in addition to the "Z87" ("Z87+"). Devices used in events where the rules require High Impact Protection must bear the "Z87+" mark.

Please note that the pictures may not show glasses that are actually ANSI rated. They were merely chosen for visual similarity to the classes listed at

To be approved eye protection devices must be marked with "Z87".


This can be hard to see, especially on devices made of clear material. Removable lenses must also bear the "Z87" mark. Regular eyeglasses with safety glass are not approved unless they bear this mark.

Contestants must not be allowed to participate without the level of protection required (or higher) by the rules. It is sometimes impossible for event supervisors to know what hazards a team's device may present; therefore, it is incumbent upon teams to bring and wear a higher level of protection than what is specified in the rules when their device warrants it.

2014 Events that Use Safety Glasses