• Connect With Us:

How to Operate an Emergency Eyewash Station

emergency eyewash stationIn 2008, there were 27,450 workplace non-fatal eye injuries that resulted in days off work. Without eyewash stations, this number would be even higher.

It takes only a few seconds for hazardous material to damage your eyes, which is why eyewash stations are so important.

Exposure to hazardous material can occur in any workplace where contaminated or strongly alkaline/acidic substances are present. Unlike cuts or abrasions, chemical materials continue to inflict damage as long as they’re in contact with your eye.

If hazardous material comes into contact with your eyes, removing the material fast is imperative. Typically, you have only seconds to get to an eyewash station before permanent damage occurs.

What to do if you’re affected

If hazardous material gets in your eye, go to the nearest eyewash station as quickly as possible. Turn on the water and flush for a full 15 minutes.

Flush both eyes, even if you think only one is affected. You’ll have to gently hold your eyes open with your fingertips because your natural inclination is to squeeze them closed.

Water doesn’t neutralize hazardous substances, it only flushes them away. This is why large quantities of water are needed.

If you wear contact lenses, gently remove them while flushing (the water will help to flush them out). It’s important to remove them to release any hazardous material that might be trapped between the lens and your eye.

Flushing is your first priority. Don’t stop to contact emergency medical assistance. You can do that after you’ve flushed for the full 15 minutes.

What to do if your co-worker is affected

If you’re onsite when a co-worker gets hazardous material in her/her eyes, you need to assist. As quickly as possible, guide your co-worker to the nearest eyewash station. If another employee is present, you can each take one arm and guide the affected worker together. Start the eyewash station flow immediately and make sure the water flushes both eyes. Remind the worker to remove any contact lenses. Note the time the flushing starts and make sure it continues for 15 minutes.

Your workplace may have it’s own protocols in place for this type of scenario, but generally, the next steps are to call 911 and notify a supervisor. If possible, provide attending paramedics with the MSDS for the chemical involved.

The paramedics will guide you on what to do next, but you will want to follow up with a physician to see if your eyesight was affected and what else you can do to support your recovery.

Naturally, eyewash stations should be a last resort option for preventing eye injuries. It’s much preferable to prevent injuries by either separating employees from hazardous materials or providing them with the right safety equipment.

Eyewash Stations at Select Safety Sales

When you need an eyewash station for your workplace, take a look at the eyewash stations at Select Safety Sales. Whether you need a portable or plumbed model, we have quality eyewash stations at reasonable prices. Most ship the same day and many ship for free! Contact our safety experts for more information at (866) 864-3495, sales@selectsafetysales.com or via online chat.

SSLSafety CouncilMcafeeGSA
Copyright © 2014. All Rights Reserved
  • Connect With Us: