How to Use Eye Wash Station?
Apr. 21, 2021
What's The Purpose of an Emergency Eyewash Station?
An emergency eye wash station is an otherwise simple device that can protect workers against chemical-related eye injuries. While there are many different types, ranging in size, design, features and function, most emergency eyewash stations feature a shower-like sprayer that, when pressed, sprays water down on the worker's eyes; thus, flushing away any chemicals. Drains are typically installed directly below or nearby to prevent buildups of water and chemicals on the floor.
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 2,000 workers daily suffer a job-related eye injury that requires medical attention. That translates into 730,000 work-related eye injuries each year! Eye injuries may occur from debris shooting into a worker's eye, such as metal or wood chips, or they may occur from exposure to chemicals.
In the event a worker's eyes are exposed to chemicals, it's imperative that he or she immediately flush out the chemical, which is where an emergency eyewash station comes into play: the worker will stand underneath the station while allowing the water to spray down onto his or her eyes. As the water flows over the worker's eyes, it will wash out any hazardous chemicals or materials lingering on the surface.
Are Emergency Eyewash Stations Required In The Workplace?
Requirements regarding the use of chemical wash station vary depending on the conditions of the workplace. Generally speaking, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that emergency eyewash stations be used in all workplaces where workers could be exposed to hazardous chemicals.
If you're unsure about the specific requirements regarding the use of eyewash stations, contact an OSHA representative in your area for more details.
The employer must determine if employees can or will be exposed during the course of their duties to hazardous materials in such a way that the protections of an eyewash or emergency shower would be necessary. If hazardous materials are present at a worksite in such a way that exposure could not occur (for example, in sealed containers that will not be opened, or caustic materials in building piping), then an eyewash or emergency shower would not be necessary.
An emergency eyewash station is only effective if the worker keeps his or her eyes open. Depending on the type of chemical and other circumstances, a worker's natural response might be to keep their eyes shut. However, closing your eyes prevents the chemical from washing away, which cold make the problem worse.
How to properly test, maintain and use eye washers
Eyewash stations are both an OSHA and ANSI requirement for work areas that contain corrosive substances.
To avoid a serious incident at your laboratory take a look at these tips for testing, maintaining, and using your eyewash station properly:
Testing Your Eyewash Station
1.Check for running water. The valve activates in a second or less and remains open until closed by user.
2.Check for flow. The water stream should be about six inches long, with both streams crossing at the center of the eyewash nozzle.
3.Check for balance. Both left and right eyewash nozzles should produce an equal flow of water.
4.Check for temperature. Maintaining a proper tepid temperature is vital for a properly working eyewash station. The temperature should remain between, 60 – 100oF.
[Related: Install an eyewash station to comply with OSHA regulations]
Maintaining Your Eyewash Station
·Remove any obstructions. In an emergency, it is imperative that the eyewash station can be accessed without difficulty.
·Perform weekly water pressure testing to ensure proper function and to flush out possible sediment and stagnant water.
·For gravity-fed stations, change the water every 3-6 months.
·Be sure to read your manufacturer’s instructions for additional maintenance and safety tips.
Using Your Eyewash Station
1.Guide the affected person to the eyewash station.
2.Activate the unit using the valve.
3.Keep eyelids open with both hands, and flush out.
4.Flush for 15 minutes. Get medical attention.