Emergency Eyewash Stations: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re looking for a way to make your workplace safer, an eye wash station is a good choice. Eye wash stations are simple but effective in keeping employees safe.

They are often located near exit doors so employees can easily access the water and soap without running out into the hallway.

Some people may find them inconvenient or unnecessary, but they are vital to any workplace safety plan.

This blog post will look at what you need to know about the emergency eye wash station.

What is an Emergency Eye Wash Station?

An eye wash station is a small hand basin installed in a workplace, school, or hospital. They usually have a sink with water, soap, and paper towels.

The purpose of the eye rinse station is to give staff members access to clean their hands and faces when cleaning up after themselves.

Having the right eye safety station in your workplace is crucial as workers can use it for different emergencies. For example, workers use it to clean their eyes after exposure to chemicals or dust. It can also help prevent an infection if they have been exposed to any blood and biofluids.

Who needs an eye wash station?

Any business or organization with employees who work with food, equipment, biofluids, or chemicals must have an eyewash station installed in the workplace. This includes restaurants, factories, and schools, among others.

You also need one if you work with animals as they can carry germs and bacteria, which can cause illness if not cleaned properly.

When to Use an Emergency Eye Wash Station

Knowing when to use an eye wash station is essential to keeping your eyes safe from harm. There are three main situations where you should use an eye wash sink:

If you have a biofluid splash to the eye

Foreign blood and biofluid can cause bloodborne pathogen exposure; that’s why you want to wash away any splashes to the eye to reduce the chances of contracting an infection.

If you have a chemical splash to the eye

Chemical solutions can be dangerous to the eye, even causing blindness in the worst situations. You want to rush to a station immediately after exposure to avoid possible injury.

If you touch the eye with a dangerous or irritating substance

We touch many things that can irritate the eye, from pepper to cleaning solutions. These substances can be very irritating if you accidentally touch your eye.

If you suffer irritation due to excess smoke/teargas

Smoke and tear gas can irritate the eye and compromise vision. Washing your eyes at a station is the best relief.

You should flush the affected eye with water for at least 15 minutes in each case. This will help to remove the irritant and protect your eye from further damage.

What Does an Eye Wash Station Look Like?

An eye wash station is made from plastic or metal, depending on your preference and needs for durability.

These stations are filled with water or an eye wash solution used to clean the eyes after exposure to chemicals or other substances. The water also serves as an anti-clog for the eyewash station.

The eyewash sink also has a faucet or valve at the bottom. The tap allows the user to add or remove the water. This allows the user to control how much water they use at any time.

When buying one, look at how large it is and whether it has a built-in sink where you can store soap and water for washing up after contacting any hazardous materials during work hours (such as cleaning chemicals).

Make sure there’s enough room for two people to use it together without bumping into each other when doing so!

Types of Eye Wash Stations

When it comes to safety in the workplace, there are a variety of precautions that need to be taken. One of these is the installation of eye rinsing stations. Nevertheless, these stations come in different styles and sizes. Here are some known types:

Hand-held or portable

The most common type of safety eye wash station is the hand-held or portable version that you can take with you wherever you go — whether it’s a warehouse, farm, or office setting.

These eye rinsing stationsfit easily into workspaces without taking up much space and can be moved around when needed. They’re typically battery-powered, but they can also be AC-powered.

Wall-mounted or fixed-location

Wall-mounted or fixed-location eye cleaning stations are permanent room fixtures with no moving parts that could malfunction and cause injury. They’re often mounted on walls or ceilings to provide easy access for employees who need to use them while working on tasks such as assembly lines or welding.

Image alt text: wall mounted laboratory emergency eye wash station

Author credit: By IldarSagdejev (Specious) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4314875

Considerations when Buying an Emergency Eye Wash Station

The eye wash station should also be easy to use and clean. Many types of stations are available on the market today, but not all work well for every situation. Here are some things you need to know about them so you can choose one that fits your needs:

What do they do?

The first thing to consider is what will be used for the eye wash station. You might need a specific type of rinsing station, or you might want something that serves multiple purposes.

For example, if people wear contact lenses at your office, you might want an area where they can lay their equipment down while they take care of their eyes.

How much do they cost?

The price of an eye wash station can vary greatly depending on its size and features. A small portable one that fits in your pocket will cost less than one that requires an electrical outlet or has a larger capacity basin.

If you want something more advanced, look for one that has better filtration capabilities or includes other amenities like antibacterial wipes or anti-microbial agents.

Eye rinse stations range in price from $40 to $400, depending on their size and features. They can be found at most hardware stores or online retailers like Amazon or Home Depot.

You can also buy them at any department store like Walmart or Target if you don’t want to shop online. Consider shopping around to find the best price for your needs.

Do they meet safety standards?

Most eye rinsing stations meet all the requirements of OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration). These include having a sink with running water, a faucet that doesn’t leak, and a soap dispenser with no plastic or metal parts that could come loose during use.

If your eye rinse station doesn’t meet these standards, it won’t perform its role effectively.

Installing an Emergency Eye Wash Station: What You Need to Know

The first thing to consider is whether you have a dedicated area for installing an eye wash station. This can be in the form of a small room with a sink and mirrors, or it might be a separate room where facilities are shared with other staff members.

If you don’t have dedicated space for an eye rinse station, consider using an existing space such as the canteen or break room.

Image alt text: emergency eye wash station area in a laboratory.

Author credit: By Spickohalls – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6637846

If you don’t have any dedicated space that you can use for this purpose, you may need to install an eye wash station near the entrance to the building where most people will enter. This will provide easy access to the resource and prevent possible infection or injury to the eye. Remember, the eyes are sensitive, and every second counts.

The type of eyewash station you choose will depend on the size and layout of your workplace. The smaller the workplace, the less likely there will be enough space available for an eye cleaning station within its boundaries.

However, installing an eye rinsing station near entrances would make sense if space is available within your building’s boundaries.

This position allows everyone entering the facility to notice and use the station when in need without having to ask.

OSHA’s Requirements & Guidelines for Eye Wash Stations

It is crucial to be proactive when it comes to eye safety. Assessing your risks and developing a solid eye protection program is the best way to prevent accidents from worsening.

OSHA requires employers to provide eye wash stations in work areas where employees may be exposed to splashes of materials that could irritate the eyes or skin. The employer must provide a separate eyewash for each affected employee unless the employer has provided an individualized training program for all employees required to use such stations.

OSHA’s eye wash requirement

OSHA’s requirements and guidelines for eye cleaning stations are covered in the OSHA Safety and Health Topics Manual, Chapter 7, Eye Wash Stations.

The following requirements apply to eye safety stations:

  • The employer shall provide at least one (1) eye rinse station for each work area where employees are permitted to enter during their work shift.
  • The employer shall ensure that each station is readily accessible to employees and that all employees have access to an eye rinsing station before entering any hazardous area.
  • The employer shall provide adequate signage directing employees to the designated eye wash stations.
  • The employer shall maintain accurate records of all eye cleaning stations used daily by employees who use them frequently.

Lastly, the station should use multiple dispensing devices, so employees do not have to wait in line.

Maintaining Your Emergency Eye Wash Station

Maintenance is an integral part of this eye safety program. Maintaining equipment is just as important as keeping your facility and staff. You can take several steps to ensure that your stations are working well.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your eye station in tip-top shape:

1.      Cleaning

Check the handwash sink before each shift. If it’s dirty, clean it with soap and water or an antibacterial agent such as Clorox Cleanup or Daily Cleaner to prevent bloodborne pathogen exposure.

Do not use harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia when cleaning your eye wash station, as this can damage its finish and make it more susceptible to rusting over time. Instead, use warm soapy water and a soft cloth to clean it thoroughly.

Keep the sink’s interior clean with a disinfectant wipe or spray bottle of water and soap. This can help prevent germs from spreading if someone comes in contact with something dirty during work.

2.      Replace old parts

Check whether there is any damage in any part of your eye wash station, such as water taps or other parts of the building. Ensure that these parts are intact so that they do not get damaged easily when people use them for washing their eyes after taking a bath or shower

Check for leaks in hoses and fittings frequently enough, so they don’t cause any problems with use over time.

3.      Inspect time and again

In short, inspecting your eye wash station regularly will ensure that everything is working properly and nothing is damaged or broken. This can also help spot issues before they become too big by catching them early on before they cause problems with the rest of your facility.

12 Best Practices for Your Emergency Eye Wash Station

Eye wash stations are an essential component of a workplace wellness program. Safety eye stations help employees and employers to prevent eye infections.

In particular, they are crucial in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Staff and other patrons also use these stations to prevent bloodborne pathogen exposure.

Here are some best practices for using eye rinse stations:

1.      Make sure that the station is easily accessible.

You can ensure this by placing it near the entrance or a door that leads to a clear area. It should also be located close to restrooms and other areas where people congregate.

2.      Provide enough supplies

Ensure the facility has an adequate supply of running water and soap for cleaning your hands. It’s also crucial to have antibacterial hand sanitizer available at all times on hand for use with employees and patrons who may not be able to wash their hands properly due to illness or injury.

3.     Train all workers how to use it

Ensure that all employees receive training on using the eye wash station. That way, they can help others if one is exposed during work hours or while providing services in the facility.

4.      Assign someone to monitor its usage

Have an employee who knows how to use the eye rinsing station to ensure it is used correctly and safely.

5.      Use eye wash stations in areas where employees congregate.

For example, if you have a break room with coffee machines and tables where employees congregate, consider installing eye rinse stations there. This will allow them to get quick access when they need it most.

6.      Install stations in multiple locations

If you have multiple locations that employees tend to frequent, consider installing more than one eye wash station at each location. This will help ensure that everyone has quick access to an eye wash station whenever needed.

7.      Clean your hands before touching your eyes

Always wash your hands with soap and water before touching your eyes or face. If you have not done so in a while, use an EWS to eliminate germs on your hands before touching your eyes or face.

8.      Provide disposable gloves if employees encounter blood

If possible, keep an extra pair of disposable gloves near the sink in case you’re handling a bloody eye wash emergency with potentially infectious materials or equipment. This can help you avoid bloodborne pathogen exposure.

9.      Provide usage guidelines

Ensure your employee handbook includes guidelines for using eye wash stations wholly and correctly. The manual should clearly outline employees’ expectations when using them and how often they should use them.

10.  Install in strategic locations

The most important thing you can do to ensure your employees wash their hands frequently is to ensure they have a place to wash their hands. Eye wash stations should be located close to the point of entry into your facility and in a place where employees can easily see them.

11.  Inspect and replace old parts

After installing an eye wash station, it’s crucial to inspect and replace old parts, including any faucet handles or spouts that may be broken.

12.  Track usage and make improvements

In addition, analyze usage data to see how effective your eye wash stations are and make improvements as needed. It would be best if you also encouraged employees to use them by providing visual cues such as signs and hand sanitizer dispensers.

Emergency Eye Wash Station Mistakes to Avoid

Eye wash stations are vital to any safety plan but are often misunderstood or misused. Here are five eye wash station mistakes to avoid:

1.      Not flushing for the recommended time

It is advisable to flush your eyes for at least 15 minutes to remove all traces of the harmful substance.

2.      Not using the entire unit

Most eye cleaning stations have two nozzles – one for each eye. Be sure to use both nozzles when flushing your eyes.

3.     Rubbing your eyes

It is crucial not to rub your eyes while flushing them, as this could worsen the irritation and make you even more prone to infection.

4.      Not knowing where the eye wash station is located

Not knowing where the eye station is located is a problem because emergencies can happen anytime. Stations are often situated near exit doors so employees can easily access the water and soap without running out into the hallway.

5.      Not using the emergency eye wash station properly

It’s crucial to understand how an eye station works and the steps to use it correctly. That way, you can use it to protect your eyes more effectively.

6.     Not having an emergency plan in place

A perfect response plan goes a long way in ensuring an incident doesn’t worsen to severe injury. Always have a well-drafted strategy to ensure timely intervention.

By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure that your eye rinse station is always ready to use in an emergency.

Eye Wash Solutions: After How Long Should I Replace It?

When it comes to eye wash solutions, it’s crucial to replace them regularly. But how often should you replace your solution? The answer may depend on the type of solution you’re using and how often you use it.

Generally speaking, you should replace your eye wash solution every two months. However, if you use your solution more often, you may need to replace it more frequently. And if you use a preservative-free solution, you’ll need to replace it more often than if you use a solution with preservatives.

No matter what type of solution you use, be sure to replace it regularly to ensure it stays fresh.

Swapping your eye wash solution every two months is the best way to ensure it is effective. The eyewash may become contaminated over time and will not be as effective in flushing out the eyes if it is not replaced regularly.

Last Advice on Installing an Emergency Eye Wash Station

It is crucial to be proactive when it comes to eye safety. Assessing your risks and developing a solid eye protection program is the best way to prevent accidents from worsening.

You also want to choose wisely and do thorough maintenance so that your eye cleaning station remains useful.

Lastly, remember to replace the solution regularly. Depending on the type of solution and the frequency of use, consider refilling every few months to ensure your station works well.