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Eyewash Stations – Where to Place Them, and How Many You Should Have

- September 12, 2016 by Guest Bloggers (View all posts by Guest)

Consider this scenario

You are working with a harsh acid without eye protection, some splashes in your eye—all you see is blindness and all you feel is burning.    You need to get to the eye wash station ASAP.  Can you remember where its located?  Is the path to get to it clear?  Will it work when you arrive?   Eye safety is a serious matter, this blog will provide you with information on where and when eye wash stations are needed, as well as some of their basic requirements. 

Do You Need an Eyewash Station in your Business? 

The standard for requiring an eyewash station is found at 29 CFR 1910.151(c), and specifies that “where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use”.     

But in reality, if your imagination can picture an eye injury occurring in your workplace, then an eyewash should be available regardless of the OSHA standard.

Eyewash Stations Should be 10 Seconds Away  

Again, think about where the potential injuries may occur, and place an eyewash nearby.  The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recommends 10 seconds of unobstructed access to an eyewash station that has 15 minutes of continuous flow of potable water at a tepid temperature.  

Common sense is a good rule to follow here.  Place the eye wash near the hazard, make sure clean water is flowing—and that it’s not too hot or too cold.  60-100F would be a good temperature range to shoot for.

The most common question I receive regarding eye wash stations, is whether a sink, hose and/or water faucet is sufficient for an eye wash station? 

The short answer is yes.

In conclusion, check your safety data sheets (SDS) to determine what chemicals are used in the workplace. If any are caustic/corrosive, you should have an eye wash station.  If you need to conduct eye wash training, check out Tom Keel’s Techniques in Training post.   If you would like more detail about installing an eye wash properly, please contact you ICW Group risk manager.