Employee safety is an important responsibility that extends beyond simply having the right safety equipment in the building. The requirements of the ANSI Z358.1 standard address all aspects of the eyewash station equipment, from minimum selection to installation, operation to maintenance requirements, and more. Though the ANSI standards are comprehensive, many employers are left with questions, and they know that compliance is key.
Most Common Eyewash Station Questions
Here are the most commonly asked questions about eyewash and safety shower emergency equipment:
- What water temperature is actually required? ANSI Z358.1 requires tepid flushing fluid to be used. The reason “tepid” is required is so that the injured user will find the temperature conducive to the minimum 15-minute flushing period. Tepid is defined as a temperature range from 60 – 100℉.
- What advantages are there to using Eyesaline® instead of regular water in a gravity-fed eye wash station? Eyesaline and similar products can last for six months without needing to be replaced, whereas water requires replacement weekly. Eyesaline also matches the pH balance of the eye and is free from chlorine and other chemicals that may be present in water.
- What were the significant changes implemented in the 2014 edition of the ANSI Z358.1 standard? The changes include:
- Emergency shower equipment, once activated, must operate in a hands-free mode, and
- The height of the fluid pattern, measured from the floor of the eye/face wash equipment, can be no greater than 53 inches.
- Self-contained eyewash stations must be inspected weekly to ensure proper flushing fluid levels and that maintenance has been conducted in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- A step leading into an enclosure where the safety equipment is located is not considered an obstruction.
- Where should I locate my emergency eyewash station? According to ANSI Z358.1 the emergency station must be located within a 10 second (or 55 feet) walk from the hazard. The path to the station must be unobstructed and on the same floor as the potential hazard.
- How often do emergency eyewash stations need to be inspected? Permanently plumbed stations should be tested once per week, and during the test, the unit should be activated long enough to clear sediment and debris that may have accumulated in the pipes. The temperature of the water should be verified to be tepid – between 60 – 100℉. Self-contained eyewash stations should be visually inspected weekly to ensure proper flushing fluid levels and quality. Keep a record of all testing.
- Who should be trained on the use of emergency eyewash stations and showers? According to ANSI, all employees who may be exposed to hazardous materials should be trained on the use of eyewash and shower units.
- What is the recommended procedure for how to flush contaminated eyes effectively? Individuals should be trained to hold the eyelids open. While open, the user should roll the eyeballs to expose all parts of the eye to the flushing fluid.
- What are the flow rate requirements for eyewash, eye/face wash, and safety shower stations?
- Plumbed and self-contained eyewash – minimum of 0.4 gallons per minute (GPM) for 15 continuous minutes of flushing.
- Plumbed eye/face wash – minimum flow of 3.0 GPM for 15 continuous minutes of flushing.
- Combination showers and drench showers – minimum flow of 20 GPM for 15 continuous minutes of flushing.