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Eye Wash Stations

My name is Jill, Chief Safety Officer with Vivid Learning Systems. I'm a former OSHA inspector here to help you identify and correct workplace safety hazards.

Eyewash stations are pretty straightforward right? You get something in your eye, you go to your eye wash station to rinse it out. But what if you had to clear some debris just to get to the eye wash station? Or what if when you get there the dust covers haven't been in place for a while and the first shot of water you get in your eye has dirt or debris? Or maybe they've gotten so dirty the water isn't working at all? Or what if the temperature hasn't been set right on these and the first shot of water you get in your eye is really cold or really hot what? If the distance you have to travel from the hazard that hurt you is very far and you have to travel through doors or downstairs and negotiate different areas just to get to the eyewash station when your eyes are already burning? Or maybe you can't even see. Or when you get to the eyewash station itself what if there's faucets you have to try to manipulate to set the water temperature, rather than having a simple paddle like this where the water is going to start flowing immediately. And some work environments may have non plumbed eyewash stations that have a stored amount of water in them. For that you want to make sure that you're treating the water so that the water that comes into your contact with your eyes hasn't been contaminated or is old. Or worse yet what if your eye wash station is really a small bottle of water which isn't really an eyewash station at all.

Now choosing, installing, and inspecting the raw eye wash station is very important. Here are some things you need to know:

Determine if you have hazards which necessitate an eyewash. Start by reading your SDSs or safety data sheets. They need to be within a 10 second travel distance from the hazard. Water temperature has to be lukewarm which is between 60 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Plumbed units need to be flushed weekly for three minutes to reduce contamination. It must have a quick opening valve that remains open and takes less than a second to operate. It cannot be obstructed. The location must be well lit with a visible sign to mark where it is. Self-contained units must have at least six gallons of water storage capacity. They must be mounted between 33 and 45 inches from the floor and employees must be trained about the location and use.

There's quite a bit more to know about eyewash stations and safety showers and so if you'd like additional resources, be sure to contact us.

I hope you gained a safety skill today. If you know someone who needs this go ahead and pass it on.

Safety is everyone's business.