How to Use an Eyewash Station?

Mar. 19, 2021

How long should the skin or eyes be flushed with water in the event of a chemical exposure?

Most standard sources recommend that water rinsing/flushing following skin or eye contact with a chemical should continue for 15 or 20 minutes. However, all chemicals do not cause the same degree of effects (some are non-irritants while others can cause severe corrosive injury). At the present time, there is insufficient scientific evidence available to properly address the question of how long flushing should continue. However, it makes sense to tailor the duration of flushing to the known effects of the chemical or product, as follows:

 

5-minutes for non-irritants or mild irritants

15-20 minutes for moderate to severe irritants and chemicals that cause acute toxicity if absorbed through the skin

30 minutes for most corrosives

60 minutes for strong alkalis (e.g., sodium, potassium or calcium hydroxide)

It is very important that water flushing start immediately following skin or eye contact with a chemical. It is better if complete water flushing occurs on-site. However, moving the exposed person to an emergency care facility earlier may be necessary depending on their condition (e.g., compromised airways, breathing, or circulation) and/or the availability of a suitable water supply. If it is necessary to transport the person before completing flushing on-site, flushing should continue during emergency transport, taking proper precautions to protect emergency services personnel.

Note that the emergency eyewash manufacturer/supplier may also specify a cleansing agent (e.g., non-abrasive soap) if appropriate, or may recommend an alternative agent in exceptional cases if water is clearly inappropriate.

Emergency Eyewash

How to Use an Eyewash Station?

"When a chemical or irritant enters your eyes, knowing how to properly flush them can save your sight."

Select Safety Sales

Go Immediately to the Eyewash Station – Don’t Waste A Second!

If a chemical splashes in your eyes, time is of the essence.  GO immediately to the eyewash station which should be located within 10 seconds walking distance from you if you work with caustic chemicals.

Push the Lever to Activate the Unit

Push the lever- An ANSI compliant unit will activate with one single motion.  The dust covers will pop off and the flushing fluid will begin to flow out from the faucet heads.

Begin to Flush

Get your eyes directly in the stream of the flushing fluid- Immediately!

Hold Your Eyes Open with Your Fingers

An ANSI compliant unit will be hands free so that you do not have to hold the lever open.   Once activated, the unit will stay on.   Keep your eyes open by holding your eyelids apart with your fingers.

Roll Your Eyes

Gently roll your eyes from left to right and up and down to be sure that the fluid is flushing all of the areas of your eye.

Flush for a Full Fifteen Minutes

Continue Flushing your eyes for a full 15 minutes.  The temperature in an ANSI compliant eyewash will be between 60 and 100 degrees fahrenheit so that you will comfortably be able to continue flushing for the entire period of time.  This is important because you want to fully dilute the chemical and wash it out of your eyes.  Any time less than 15 minutes is NOT enough time to accomplish this.

Take Out Your Contacts

If you have contact lenses in your eyes, you can gently take them out while you are flushing. Don’t delay the flushing to take out your lenses but make sure that you take them out because they could trap the chemical in your eyes.

 

Seek Medical Help

After you have flushed, see a doctor to determine if anything more needs to be done for the preservation of your vision.


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