Proper maintenance of your eyewash station may save your employee’s eyesight following an accident. Today, I want to talk about assuring that your eyewash station is ready for use at any given moment.
During a recent review of a facility, I noted that an eyewash station was covered in silt. It was obvious that it had not been cleaned in quite some time and clearly was not ready for use if an immediate need were to arise.
OSHA 1910.151(c) requires “suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body...,” where the eyes or body “may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials.” The OSHA standard does not speak to the maintenance and upkeep of eyewash stations. However, OSHA requires that employers provide to each employee, “employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”
While not having the force of regulation under OSHA, the American National Standards Institute addresses requirements of effective emergency eyewash and shower equipment. ANSI Z358.1 requires annual inspection of each piece of emergency equipment and, the following best practices:
- Activation of the unit (running the water) shall take place weekly for at least 3 minutes to assure the water runs clean. Activation, performance, and cleaning must be documented on a log sheet.
- The water temperature shall be “tepid”
- Employees shall be trained to use the emergency equipment
The facility I visited quickly complied with the standard. When inspecting and cleaning their eyewash station, they learned that there were parts that needed replacement. Now, weekly inspections, cleanings, and a documentation log are completed. This company can rest assured that if needed, their eyewash station is ready for use.