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REQUIREMENTS FOR A SUCCESSFUL EMERGENCY EYEWASH PROGRAM

Q: How do I determine my emergency eye wash requirements?

OSHA Regulations state: "Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive chemicals, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use."

Utilizing the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for every chemical used in your facility provides information about that chemical's potential health hazards. The MSDS also contains emergency and first aid procedures to follow immediately after exposure, until medical help arrives.

Q: What information is available to assist in determining if a chemical is a hazard to the eye and the appropriate first aid requirements for that hazard?

Employers are required to identify and evaluate all chemicals used in the workplace. The supplier of each chemical must provide a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), which will provide first aid information.

Q: What are the most common eye injury areas that require eyewash stations?

Painting Operations and Solvents, Forklift and Battery Charging Stations, Hazardous Chemical Storage Tool Parts Washers Chemical Pumping or Mixing Areas Laboratories.

Q: What are the different types of emergency eyewash units?

  • Plumbed: Permanently connected to a source of potable water. 
  • Self-Contained, GravityFed: Contains its own flushing fluid. 
  • Self-Contained,Pressurized Units: Pressurized from an external source formobility/portability. 

SALINE SOLUTION

Q: What is the difference between the Water Additive and Saline Concentrate?

Saline Concentrate creates a flushing fluid solution that is more compatible with the eye than water with an additive. Saline Concentrate contains a special preservative and additives to provide a cost effective solution for eyewash refills. When mixed in the proper ratio with potable (drinking) water, Saline Concentrate provides a preserved, buffered, saline solution. When mixed with potable water, Water Additive provides a buffered solution for use in self-contained eyewash devices. Water Additive mixed with water is cost-effective, but does not remove or ameliorate particulates. Water Additive is non-toxic and non-irritatingin the recommended concentration.


Q: Are contact lenses safe after an eye flush with Saline?

Saline is not for use with contact lenses. Please remove lenses prior to use.


Q: What is the pH level of Saline?

The pH range of Saline is 6.9 to 7.4. The pH level of human tears is 7.4.


Q: Can I use Saline solutions after they expire?

No. Manufacturers stand firmly behind their products expiration dates.


Q: What should I do if my Saline Solution arrived frozen?

Do not use if it arrives or ever becomes frozen.



GENERAL INFORMATION


Q: What are the highlights of the ANSIZ358.1-2009 Standard?
  • Deliver flushing fluid for 15 minutes.
  • Eyewash shall be in accessible locations that require no more than 10 seconds to reach. The path of travel shall be free of obstructions.
  • Each eyewash location shall be identified with a highly visible sign. 
  • Delivered flushing fluid temperature shall be tepid (60° F – 100° F).
  • All eyewash units shall be inspected and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. 
  • Plumbed equipment shall be activated weekly to verify proper operation. 
  • For more information, check out their website: www.ANSI.org



Q: Who enforces the eyewash station requirement?

OSHA enforces the eyewash standard, which is determined by ANSI.



Q: What flow rate is required in a primary eyewash station?

Aminimum of 0.4 gallons per minute for at least 15 minutes.



Q: What are personal/secondary eyewash devices, and what are their applications?

The ANSI Standard defines personal eyewash as "a supplementary eyewash that supports plumbed units, self-contained units or both by delivering immediate flushing fluid." A personal eyewash does not have the fluid capacity to flush both eyes and deliver that flushing fluid for the required rate of 0.4 gallonsper minute for 15 minutes.

Written by Gus Khouri — April 16, 2012

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