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Eyewash Stations FAQs

General Frequently Asked Questions About Eyewash Stations

Having eyewash stations onsite keeps you prepared for emergency situations. See below for a list of the most frequently asked questions about eyewash stations. Still have questions? Contact Technical Product Support at 1-800-874-4755 or send an email by clicking here.

Frequently Asked Questions
 

1. What regulations and standards apply to eyewashes and other emergency wash fixtures?
2. Do you have any eyewash stations and showers that are OSHA compliant?
3. Where should I locate my emergency eyewash station?
4. How many emergency wash stations do I need?
5. How often do I need to test or inspect my emergency eye wash station?
6. Who should be trained on the proper use of emergency eyewashes and showers?
7. Are there any recommended procedures on how to effectively flush eyes that have been contaminated?
8. Do I need to treat the water supplied to the eyewash station?
9. What temperature does the water supplied to the eyewash station need to be?
10. What is the shelf life of a bottle of the eyewash station water preservative or saline solution? How long does it last once mixed?
11. Do I have to worry about the pH of the water in my plumbed eyewash?
12. What are the flow rate requirements for eyewash stations?

 

1. What regulations and standards apply to eyewashes and other emergency wash fixtures?
OSHA regulation 1910.151c and ANSI standard Z358.1 outline the requirements for emergency washdown.


2. Do you have any eyewash stations and showers that are OSHA compliant?
OSHA defers to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z358.1 standard for the requirements of portable and plumbed emergency eye, eye/face wash and emergency shower equipment. This includes construction, testing, water pressure, flow requirements, location, operation and maintenance.

An ANSI approval label on the equipment shows that the manufacturer's product meets ANSI specifications. You will find emergency wash fixtures that are listed as meeting the ANSI standard, but they will not be described as OSHA compliant. If the proper stations are installed and maintained correctly, you will be OSHA compliant.


3. Where should I locate my emergency wash station?
According to ANSI Z358.1 the emergency eyewash or shower should be no further than 10 seconds or 55 feet from the hazard. The wash station should also be on the same level as the hazard.


4. How many emergency wash stations do I need?
The number of wash stations needed per hazard depends on the number of employees in the area and the probability of multiple employees being exposed to the hazard at the same time.


5. How often do I need to test or inspect my emergency eyewash station?
Plumbed stations should be tested and allowed to run long enough to clear the pipes of any sediment or debris that may have accumulated once a week. While activating plumbed eyewashes, eye/face washes and showers, you should also verify that they are providing luke warm tepid water (between 60° to 100°F).

Self-contained eye washes obviously cannot be activated weekly without using up valuable solution, so ANSI recommends visually inspecting the unit to see if the fluid needs changing or supplementing.

Identify and keep records of testing and maintenance of eyewash and shower stations with eyewash inspection tags or sheets.


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6. Who should be trained on the proper use of emergency eyewashes and showers?
ANSI states that all employees who may be exposed to hazardous materials should be trained on the use of eyewash and shower devices. Specific areas that should be addressed include the location of the units, how to properly activate the systems and how to correctly maintain the devices.


7. Are there any recommended procedures on how to effectively flush eyes that have been contaminated?
Individuals should be instructed to hold the eyelids open and roll the eyeballs so fluid will flow on all surfaces of the eye and under the eyelid.


8. Do I need to treat the water supplied to the wash station?
Per the requirements of ANSI Z358.1 the flushing fluid supplied to the station can be potable water, preserved water, or a preserved buffered saline solution.


9. What temperature does the water supplied to the wash station need to be?
ANSI Z358.1 requires water flowing out of the eyewash station or drench shower to be tepid. Tepid is defined as between 60-100°F.


10. What is the shelf life of a bottle of the eyewash station water preservative or saline solution? How long does it last once mixed?
It depends on the solution used. Check the instructions or labeling of the solution you are using for this information. If you cannot find instructions about life of the product on the labeling always check with the manufacturer of the solution you are using to ensure you aren’t using expired product.


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11. Do I have to worry about the pH of the water in my plumbed eyewash?
Tears generally have a pH of 7.4 and possess some buffer capacity. Ideally, the flushing fluid in an emergency eyewash device should have a pH close to 7.4 as well as a saline content similar to the fluid in the eye. If the pH is too low or too high the water may not be suitable for use as a flushing fluid.


12. What are the flow rate requirements for eyewash stations?
Minimum flow rates must be met to make the equipment work as it was designed, pass possible OSHA inspections and provide relief in case of an accidental splash. Each piece of equipment has a different flow requirement. Plumbed and self-contained eyewashes require a minimum flow of 0.4 gallons per minute (GPM) for 15 minutes of flush.

Plumbed Eye/Face washes require a minimum flow of 3.0 GPM, and combination showers and drench showers a minimum flow of 20 GPM for 15 minutes. If shut-off valves are installed in the supply line, provisions should be made to prevent unauthorized shut off. According to the ANSI standard, these units should be inspected annually to make sure they continue to meet the flow requirements.
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