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Eyewash Stations

Eyewash Stations

An Eye Wash Station that is ANSI Z358.1-2014 Compliant has to flow for a full fifteen minutes and the flushing fluid temperature needs to be between 60 and 100 degrees. The Eyewash needs to be accessible, unobstructed and clearly marked and within 10 seconds of the threat.  Choosing the correct eyewash for the environment is extremely important.


Best Practices When Considering an Eye Wash Station

  • Should Be Easily Accessible: An injured person should be able to reach the eyewash within 10 seconds walking at a slow pace.  Remember the person probably cannot see and may need assistance to get over to the station.  so placement is key.  Don't install the unit in a remote corner. Even though you have instructed your workers as to the location and operation of the eyewash, when it comes down to using it in an emergency, the anxiety from the event or injury will many times confuse the individual. So a very clear, well lit station with a bright green sign should be carefully considered.
  • 15 Minute Continuous Flow: The unit has to have continuous flow for a full 15 minutes with a minimum flow rate of .4 gal per minute for an eyewash and 3 gal per minute for an eye/face wash. Consider an eye/face wash when you are able.  Portable units cannot deliver more than .4 gal per minute and cannot be regarded as an eye/face as they do not have the volume to deliver a 15 minute flow at 3 gal per minute.  They would run out of fluid in 3 to 5 minutes depending on the size.  So a plumbed unit would be the only way to achieve having an eye/face wash.
  • Caustic, Hazardous or PARTICULATES: Though we always equate the need for an eyewash with caustics and chemicals, not enough attention is brought to the possibility of airborne particulates, dust, dirt and anything that can get caught in the eye.  Don't think that because you are not handling caustics and chemicals that you do not need an eye wash station.  Use common sense and don't just install one to be compliant.  Install it because you have a true desire to protect your workers.
  • Flushing Fluid Temperature: ANSI Z358.1 stipulates that the temperature should be between 60 and 100 degrees fahrenheit. But is 60 degrees or 100 degrees comfortable temperatures to actually flush your eyes for a full 15 minutes?  Probably not!  Try to take a shower with a temperature at 60 degrees for 15 minutes!  It is not comfortable and you will not remain in that shower for long.  When considering an eye wash, I am suggesting bringing the flushing fluid temp to between 70 and 90 degrees for a comfortable flow so that the victim will remain in that position for 15 minutes.  It is difficult enough holding both your eyes open with your fingers and bending over for that length of time.
  • •   Plumbed Vs. Portable: Portable is considered when there is no plumbing available.  Of course the temperature of the room needs to be considered as the portable unit will take on the temperature of the room.  So if its below 60 degrees, consider a portable heated unit or install a plumbed unit with a cold and hot water feed and a thermostatic mixing valve to blend the hot and cold to a temperature that meets the standard.  Maintenance of a plumbed unit is a weekly flush, while a portable unit requires quarterly maintenance.  There are exceptions to this quarterly maintenance with some portables having cartridges that are installed into the unit and can last up to 24 months.