Vision Conservation and Readiness

Local Vision Conservation and Readiness Program Requirements

Last Updated: April 22, 2019
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Determining the requirements and the responsibilities for completion of those requirements related to vision conservation, occupational vision and vision readiness are difficult to determine.  The reality is that there is simply not just one source which covers everything that is necessary and the documents containing requirements are constantly being updated.  

When determining requirements, start locally and work up the chain of command until you find what you need to know.  This includes looking at manuals for equipment and Safety Data Sheets which may assist in determining any known requirements for specific equipment and hazardous materials such as requirements for specific types of eye protection and the need for emergency showers or eyewash stations.  Then view documents up to laws to determine what is required for you.  DA PAM 40-506 External Link, The Army Vision Conservation and Readiness Program, provides a good initial resource for determining these requirements no matter what Service you work for and provides guidance on establishing, maintaining, and enhancing a vision conservation and readiness program.  

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 External Link was passed "to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women" and Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations ( 29 CFR External Link) contains the principal set of rules and regulations issued by federal agencies regarding labor.  However, many of the laws and regulations defer to national consensus standards such as those created by ANSI, the American National Standards Institute for what must actually be accomplished.   DoD instructions often state that you need to comply with the law or standards.

The following are some of the pertinent resources including publications and regulations which pertain to vision conservation, occupational vision and vision readiness.  The intent will be to keep this reference as up to date as possible but should not be considered to be all encompassing.  Also, at the bottom of this page, information is provided to view the actual references as well as other sites for obtaining additional information.  This list is not all encompassing and it is requested that you notify us if you have additional recommendations and/or updates.

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VCR Program Requirements

For links to the actual laws, DoD and individual Service policy and other standards and other information discussed below, go to the Resources, Policy and Doctrine for Local VCR Programs page.   

OSHA Program Requirements - Vision is included as an additional provision to assure safe and healthful working conditions for all Federal employees.  The OSH Act is divided into many regulations or standards that can be found on the OSHA website.  Part 1960 provides the Basic Elements for Federal Employees.  Part 1960 provides the Basic Program Elements for Federal Employees.  Part 1910 is for General Industry and is the one referenced here most often since Part 1910 applies to most workers although you should always go to the regulations for the specific type of worker to make certain that you are meeting their specific requirements.  In addition, some states have their own guidance so, especially for the National Guard, make certain that you also look at the specific state laws to ensure compliance.

  1. Applies to all agencies of the Executive Branch
    1. §1960.25(c)  requires that all areas and operations of each workplace, including office operations, be inspected at least annually.
    2. Applies to all working conditions of Federal employees except those involving uniquely military equipment, systems and operations.  §1960.2(i): The term uniquely military equipment, systems, and operations excludes from the scope of the order the design of Department of Defense equipment and systems that are unique to the national defense mission, such as military aircraft, ships, submarines, missiles, and missile sites, early warning systems, military space systems, artillery, tanks, and tactical vehicles; and excludes operations that are uniquely military such as field maneuvers, naval operations, military flight operations, associated research test and development activities, and actions required under emergency conditions. The term includes within the scope of the Order Department of Defense workplaces and operations comparable to those of industry in the private sector such as: Vessel, aircraft, and vehicle repair, overhaul, and modification (except for equipment trials); construction; supply services; civil engineering or public works; medical services; and office work.
  2. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    1.  §1910.132.  Protective equipment, including PPE for eyes, face, head and extremities... and protective shields and barriers shall be provided used and maintained...
    2. §1910.132(h).  Employer is not obligated to provide non-specialty prescription safety glasses.
    3. §1910.132(d)(1). Not required to pay for items used solely for weather such as sunglasses, sunscreens, winter/rain coats...
  3. §1960.25(c) Subpart K - Medical and First Aid
    1. The employer shall ensure the ready availability of medical personnel for advice and consultation on matters of plant health.
    2. In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity...
      1. A person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid.
      2. Adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available.
    3. Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided with the work area for immediate emergency use,
  4. Other pertinent parts
    1. §1910 Subpart O applies to machinery and machine guarding.
    2. §1910 Subpart P applies to hand and portable powered tools and other hand held equipment.
    3. §1910 Subpart Q applies to welding cutting and brazing
      • §1920.252(b)(2) Eye Protection.  Helmets or hand shields shall be used during all arc welding or arc cutting operations and helpers or attendants shall be provided with proper eye protection.
    4. §1910 Subpart Z applies to toxic and hazardous substances and includes everything from air contaminants to chemicals.

National Consensus Standards - Standards developed by select committees of federal, industrial and private sector personnel under the sponsorship of one of the national standards setting organizations such as:

  • American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA)
    • ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2015  Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices
      • Sets forth criteria related to the general requirements, testing, permanent marking, selection, care, and use of protectors to minimize the occurrence and severity or prevention of injuries from such hazards as impact, non-ionizing radiation and liquid splash exposures in occupational and educational environments including, but not limited to, machinery operations, material welding and cutting, chemical handling, and assembly operations. Certain hazardous exposures are not covered in this standard such as: Blood borne pathogens, X-rays, high energy particulate radiation, microwaves, radio-frequency radiation lasers, masers, and sports and recreation.
    • ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014 Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment
      • Establishes minimum performance and use requirements for eyewash and shower equipment for the emergency treatment of the eyes or body of a person who has been exposed to hazardous materials. It covers emergency showers, eyewashes, eye/face washes, and combination units. This standard also includes performance and use requirements for personal wash units and drench hoses, which are considered supplemental to emergency eyewash and shower equipment.
    • ANSI/ISEA Z308.1 2015 Minimum Requirements for Workplace First Aid Kits and Supplies
      • Establishes minimum performance requirements for first aid kits and their supplies that are intended for use in various work environments.
    • ANSI Z136.1-2014 Safe Use of Lasers
      • Provides guidance for the safe use of lasers and laser systems by defining control measures for each of seven laser hazard classifications.  Technical information on measurements, calculations and biological effects are also provided within the standard and its appendixes.
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
  • ASTM International - pertinent standards are primarily for sport eye protection
  • National consensus standards are not directive unless adopted by a regulatory federal agency, the Department of Defense, or a specific Service.

DoD OSH Program Requirements

  1.  DoDI 6055.01, DoD Safety and Occupational Health (SOH) Program, provides the legal applicability of SOH Standards
    1. DoD Components must apply the OSHA standards to military personnel in nonmilitary-unique workplaces.
    2. In uniquely military workplaces, the DoD Components must apply risk management procedures.
    3. Annual inspections.  Evaluations of workplaces must, at a minimum, meet the workplace inspection requirements in accordance with section 1960.25 of the CFR.
  2.  DoDI 6055.05, Occupational and Environmental Health (OEH), provides OEH use of risk management for effectiveness.
    1. Determines the need for and content of clinical examinations for exposures to hazards and medical certifications for specific reasons.
    2. Discusses reporting procedures for all work-related injuries and illnesses for potential investigation according to DoDI 6055.07.
    3. Discusses need for conducting work site visits as appropriate to ensure understanding of the process, exposures, and work conditions and to evaluate injury and illness trends...
  3. DoDI 6055.15, DoD Laser Protection Program discusses maintaining an occupational medical surveillance program for laser personnel in accordance with DoD 6055.5-M and maintaining a Service capability to conduct evaluations to assess the hazards from laser systems. 
  4. DoD 6055.05-M, Occupational Medical Examinations and Surveillance Manual,
    1. Summarizes medical surveillance and employer requirements of OSHA
    2. Issues additional DoD policy for surveillance and management
    3. Provides additional information and references appropriate for developing consistent occupational medical examination and surveillance.
    4. C1.4.7.1.2. discusses waiver of physical standards - approval resides at the local management level, medical makes recommendations.

Service Specific Requirements

  1. Army - AR 40-5, Preventive Medicine, specifies that the VCR Program will be accomplished in accordance with DA Pam 40-506, chapters 1-6 and appendixes B-H.
  2. Navy - OPNAVINST 5100.23, The Navy Occupational Safety and Health Program, and 5100.19E, The Navy Occupational Safety and Health Program for Forces Afloat, state that "All Navy regions and activities with personnel having exposure to eye hazardous operations shall implement a sight conservation program."   However, NAVMED P-117, Manual of the Medical Department, section 22-35(1), Occupational Optometry, states that "Sight conservation may be an element in medical surveillance programs, but does not exist as a separate program."
  3. Air Force - AFI 91-202, The US Air Force Mishap Prevention Program discusses the need for and adequacy of occupational health-related PPE and other controls to reduce exposures.  AFI 91-203, Air Force Consolidated Occupational Safety Instruction, discusses the roles of the installation Occupational Safety office and the Bioenvironmental Engineering personnel.
VCR Requirements Resources

Resources for obtaining additional information regarding vision conservation and readiness and related information as well as links to the requirements sites including OSHA, DoD, and the specific Services as well as links to the specific laws and regulations, go to:     

Local VCR Program Resources, Policy and Doctrine

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