4 Important Eye Wash Station Requirements

According to OSHA, there are major Eye Wash Station Requirements; here is what OSHA has to say about Eye Wash Station:

The OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.151(c) requires eyewash and shower equipment for emergency use where the eyes or body of any employee may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials. For details on emergency eyewash and shower equipment we reference consensus standard ANSI Z358.1-1990.

What Is Eye Wash Station

Eyewash stations are designed to flush the eye and face area only. There are combination units available that contain both features: a shower and an eyewash.

The need for emergency showers or eyewash stations is based on the properties of the chemicals that workers use and the tasks that they do in the workplace. A job hazard analysis can provide an evaluation of the potential hazards of the job and the work areas. The selection of protection — emergency shower, eyewash or both — should match the hazard.

READ: 22 Important Tips To Care For The Eyes

Eye Wash Station Requirements

General Eye Wash Station Requirement:

  1. An unobstructed path; eyewash or shower
    accessible within 10 seconds.
  2. Installation meets manufacturer’s requirements
    including criteria for water pressure, flow rate,
    and system testing.
  3. Water must flow for at least 15 minutes. Valves
    must remain open without the use of hands.
  4. Eyewash or shower stations must be clean,
    sanitary, and operating correctly; expired
    solutions must not be used in self-contained

Other Eye Wash Station Requirements

  1. A water hose may be used in conjunction with emergency showers/eyewash stations, but, not as a substitute for them. At locations (construction sites included) where hazardous chemicals are handled by employees proper eyewash and body drenching equipment shall be available no more than 100 feet from the work station(s). The employee (who may be partly blinded by chemicals in the eyes) must be able to reach and use the eyewash and/or body drenching equipment within 10 seconds. The physical layout of the workplace with specific attention to obstructions such as machine and equipment must be considered in locating eyewash stations.
  2. Any permanently installed emergency shower must be attached to water supply plumbing that is capable of delivering a minimum of 30 gallons (113.6L) of clean water per minute. The water must be dispersed substantially in a spray pattern from the water outlet which must be no less than 60 inches (152.4cm) above the working surface on which the user stands. Emergency shower locations must be identified with a highly visible sign.
  3. A self-contained or portable emergency shower must be capable of delivering a minimum of 20 gallons (75.7L) of clean water per minute continuously for at least 15 minutes. The water must be substantially dispersed in a spray pattern from the water outlet which must be no less than 60 inches (152.4cm) above the working surface on which the user stands. Emergency shower locations must be identified with a highly visible sign.
  4. Installed and portable emergency eyewash units must be capable of delivering not less then 0.4 gallons (1.5L) of clean water per minute. Portable eyewash units must be capable of delivering water continuously for at least 15 minutes. The water must be readily available to wash both eyes simultaneously. When there is more than one flushing stream of water, flushing streams must rise to approximately equal heights. The eyewash units must be designed to provide flushing water velocities which are not injurious to the eyes and must be designed to provide enough room to allow the eyelids to be held open with the hands while the eyes are in the water stream(s). The nozzles must be protected to prevent freezing of flushing water in cold weather. Also, the nozzles must be protected with airtight covers, which can be easily removed, to prevent airborne contamination. The portable units must be constructed of material that will not corrode in the presence of the flushing fluid.

Where Should Emergency Eye Shower Be Located

Recommendations on where emergency eye shower should be located:

  • Be located as close to the hazard as possible,
  • Not be separated by a partition from the hazardous work area,
  • Be on an unobstructed path between the workstation and the hazard (workers should not have to pass through doorways or weave through machinery or other obstacles to reach them),
  • Be located where workers can easily see them – preferably in a normal traffic pattern,
  • Be on the same floor as the hazard (no stairs to travel between the workstation and the emergency equipment),
  • Be located near an emergency exit where possible so that any responding emergency response personnel can reach the person easily,
  • Be located in an area where further contamination will not occur,
  • Provide a drainage system for the excess water (remember that the water may be considered a hazardous waste and special regulations may apply),
  • Not come into contact with any electrical equipment that may become a hazard when wet,
  • Be protected from freezing when installing emergency equipment outdoors.

How To Use Emergency Eye Wash Station

An emergency eye wash station is an important safety equipment used to quickly and effectively flush the eyes of a person who has come into contact with harmful substances or materials. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use an emergency eye wash station:

1. Locate the eye wash station: Make sure that you are familiar with the location of the eye wash station in your workplace or facility.

2. Assess the situation: Determine the nature of the substance that has come into contact with the eyes. If the substance is acidic, alkaline or harmful, seek medical attention immediately.

3. Alert others: If possible, ask someone nearby to assist you and alert others in the area to the emergency.

4. Remove contact lenses: If the affected person is wearing contact lenses, they should be removed immediately to avoid trapping harmful substances between the lens and the eye.

5. Activate the eye wash station: The emergency eye wash station should have a handle or pedal that needs to be pulled or pressed to activate the flow of water. Make sure the water is set to a comfortable temperature, usually between 60-100°F.

6. Position the head: The affected person should lean forward and position their head over the eye wash basin or fountain. The eyes should be kept open and facing downwards to allow the water to flow freely over the eyes.

7. Start flushing: Direct the water flow into one eye and hold the eyelid open using your fingers. The water should be allowed to flush out the eye for at least 15 minutes. Then, switch to the other eye and repeat the process.

8. Seek medical attention: After flushing the eyes, seek medical attention immediately, even if the affected person feels fine.

9. Refill the eye wash station: After use, refill the eye wash station to ensure it is ready for future emergencies.

It is important to note that regular inspections and maintenance of the eye wash station should be carried out to ensure that it is always in good working condition. Additionally, training and practice drills should be conducted regularly to familiarize employees with the proper use of the emergency eye wash station.