• A Quick Glance At Eyewash Station Regulations

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    Your eyes are one of the most vulnerable and easily damaged parts of your body. They also provide you with one of the senses you count on to do your everyday tasks – sight. The combination of vulnerability and high importance of such a sense is pretty scary since just one accident can easily rob you of your ability to see.

    The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) found that, on a daily basis, around 2000 U.S. workers experience job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment. About one-third of these are treated in hospital emergency departments, and around 100 people affected by these lose more than a day of work.

    It is in the best interests of not only the employees, but also of the companies to keep their worker’s eyes safe from injuries. One way to do that is by having eyewash stations in areas with hazardous chemicals.

    Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of the topic, let’s talk a bit about eyewash stations. These handy and potentially sight saving units give employees a quick way to rinse out their eyes in the event of contamination. The options you have for these stations have to conform to certain standards, which we will be talking about in a bit.

    OSHA, ANSI, Oh my!

    OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Standards Administration) recognizes the importance of having eyewash stations. According to standard number 1910.151(c): “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.”

    ANSI (American National Standards Institute) has taken this one step further with rules and regulations for the proper maintenance, placement, and inspection of these stations. ANSI Z358.1-2009 states that pure eyewash stations should have a flow of 0.4 gallons of water per minute while combination face and eyewash stations need to be able to produce three gallons of water per minute. In both cases, the water should be between 60°F and 100°F.

    Always place eyewash stations in locations that are of the same elevation and on the same floor as the potential hazards. These stations should also be placed in well-lit areas and no obstructions, such as trash cans and boxes, should be in the way.  An eyewash sign should also be visible, and the station should not be more than ten seconds away from where the chemicals are being handled.

    Of course, it goes without saying, that all employees should be trained how to use these eyewash stations. Training and demonstrations should be given to every new employee before they start work.

    For maintenance, workers should turn on the station every week and have an annual, formal inspection of the unit as well. Every inspection and check should be documented properly and any irregularities reported and fixed immediately.

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    Place eyewash stations like this around your facility.

    Seeing eye to eye with the policies

    If these all seem a bit complex, don’t worry too much about it. These policies are pretty straight forward and regular checks are easy to integrate in your day to day operations.

    The payoff for following such regulations, aside from legal benefits, is employees feel safer, work better, and have a set procedure in dealing with emergencies. In addition, you can even expect fewer injuries, lower insurance rates, and even higher productivity with properly built and maintained eyewash stations.

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