Face shields are personal protective equipment devices that are used by many workers (e.g., medical, dental, veterinary) for protection of the facial area and associated mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth) from splashes, sprays, and spatter of body fluids. Face shields are generally not used alone, but in conjunction with other protective equipment and are therefore classified as adjunctive personal protective equipment. Although there are millions of potential users of face shields, guidelines for their use vary between governmental agencies and professional societies and little research is available regarding their efficacy.



The majority of impact injuries result from flying or falling objects, or sparks striking the eye. Most of these objects are smaller than a pin head and can cause serious injury such as punctures, abrasions, and contusions.

While working in a hazardous area where the worker is exposed to flying objects, fragments, and particles, primary protective devices such as safety spectacles with side shields or goggles must be worn. Secondary protective devices such as face shields are required in conjunction with primary protective devices during severe exposure to impact hazards.

Personal protective equipment devices for impact hazards:

      • Safety Spectacles: Primary protectors intended to shield the eyes from a variety of impact hazards.
      • Safety Goggles: Primary protectors intended to shield the eyes against flying fragments, objects, large chips, and particles.
      • Face Shields: Secondary protectors intended to protect the entire face against exposure to impact hazards.



Face shields are intended to protect the entire face or portions of it from impact hazards such as flying fragments, objects, large chips, and particles. When worn alone, face shields do not protect employees from impact hazards. Use face shields in combination with safety spectacles or goggles, even in the absence of dust or potential splashes, for additional protection beyond that offered by spectacles or goggles alone. Face shield windows are made with different transparent materials and in varying degrees or levels of thickness. These levels should correspond with specific tasks. Window and headgear devices are available in various combinations to enable the worker to select the appropriate equipment:

Face shield windows extend from the brow to below the chin and across the entire width of the face.

Windows are available in both Removable or Lift-front Designs:

  • Removable windows allow the replacement of damaged windows.
  • Lift-front windows may be raised, as needed, or left in the lowered position.

Plastic Windows:

  • Protect against light impact.
  • May include a glass insert.
  • Are available clear or filtered.

Wire-screen Windows:

  • May include a plastic/glass insert.
  • Protect against some moderate impact.
  • Are not recommended for use involving chemical or liquid hazards.