If you are responsible for conducting eyewash station checks at your facility, we recommend using an eyewash station checklist. An eyewash station checklist can have numerous benefits:
Ensure the unit is working properly in a time of crisis
Streamline the inspection process
Ensure a consistent and thorough process
Help your facility meet OSHA and ANSI standards.
As the designated safety inspector, you should be trained and/or certified in the appropriate OSHA and ANSI standards. You should also stay up-to-date with any new regulations or standards.
ANSI recommends that you inspect your eyewash stations weekly.
Both OSHA and ANSI have requirements for eyewash stations. OSHA is considered the enforcement agency, while ANSI sets the standards. In the case of eyewash stations, OSHA references the ANSI standard, but they do not require compliance with it. In order to meet best management practices, a good safety program will follow both the OSHA and ANSI standards.
OSHA 1910.151(c) states the following regarding eyewash stations:
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.
OSHA further elaborates on the work conditions that would require an eyewash station or shower in a Letter of Interpretation dated April 14, 2008.
The American National Standards Institute’s emergency eyewash and equipment standard (ANSI Z358.1-2014) sets the standard for proper eyewash equipment selection, installation, operation, and maintenance.
The eyewash station checklist below covers key points in the ANSI standard in the areas of operation and maintenance. The checklist assumes the unit has been properly selected and installed.
Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines if you are installing an eyewash unit yourself. Great care should be taken when determining the distance from the hazard, any possible obstructions, such as stairs or doors, and height/accessibility requirements.
In order to ensure a successful eyewash program, you should conduct an annual audit to make sure all stations are in compliance. You should also audit the program any time new work hazards are introduced or relocated within your facility.
Eyewash Station Training
All employees must be familiar with the location and use of eyewash and safety showers, even if their job does not involve working directly with toxic or corrosive chemicals. Why? You may be called upon to aid a fellow employee who has had an exposure.
Eye and Face Protection – Eyewash Station Training Points
Hold eyelids open using the thumb and index finger to help ensure that effective rinsing has occurred behind the eyelid. It is normal to close eyes tightly when splashed, but this will prevent water or eye solution from rinsing and washing the chemical out.
Eyelids must be held open.
Always wash from the outside edges of the eyes to the inside; this will help to avoid washing the chemicals back into the eyes or into an unaffected eye.
Water or eye solution should NOT be directly aimed onto the eyeball, but aimed at the base of the nose.
Flush eyes and eyelids with water or eye solution for a minimum of 15 minutes.
“Roll” eyes around to ensure full rinsing.
Contact lenses must be removed as soon as possible to ensure that chemicals are not trapped behind the lenses and then the eyes can be completely rinsed of any harmful chemicals.
Weekly inspections can be conducted by maintenance, safety, or other trained personnel. Eyewash checks can also be performed by an ITU AbsorbTech certified First Aid specialist as part of their eyewash service program. This service is currently offered in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.