The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that eyewash stations be available for employees who work with chemicals, corrosives or other materials hazardous to eyes. The requirements specify that "suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use." OSHA also regulates eyewash station placement, operation and testing.
The station must be within a 10-second walk of any potential hazard. If you have an area where employees are working with severe hazards, you should install a station adjacent to the workstation. Wash stations must be accessible and paths to the station should be clear. Identify the station locations with signs and keep it well lit.
The station's water valves must be operable with something other than the hands. A person using the station will be using his hands to hold his eyes open, so he must be able to use another body part to turn on the water.
Water Pressure and Temperature
You should adjust the water pressure of the station to provide a flow of 0.4 gallon each minute for 15 minutes. If the flow pressure is too high, eye injuries can result and if the pressure is too low it will not be strong enough to properly flush the eye. The water should be lukewarm.
Position of Heads
The water heads must be between 33 and 45 inches above the floor and at least 6 inches away from the wall. This requirement ensures that the user of the station will be able to place her eyes on the water heads while remaining in a comfortable position for 15 minutes.
Cover the Heads
Covering the heads protects them from contaminants in the workstation. The covers should be easy to remove or self-removing where they will not injure a worker or impede his use of the eyewash.
Testing and Training
You must inspect and test the eyewash station weekly. The test consists of making sure the water works as it should and remains on for 15 minutes. Train your employees in the proper use of the eye station. Make sure they are aware of the location of the stations.
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