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Employers will need to supply eyewash and shower stations to employees if there is a risk that their eyes or skin may be exposed to corrosive material that could cause permanent injury. These stations allow workers to quickly wash their hands, face, and eyes after they have been in contact with such a substance. The station should provide a steady stream of clean water and be fully stocked with sanitation materials, including bottled eyewash, to ensure workers can clean themselves quickly and thoroughly without leaving the worksite.
The eyewash station and/or shower station must be placed near the worksite to minimize the distance between workers and the hazard location. Each station should be easily accessible with fast access to replacement materials. Workers should be able to reach the station within ten seconds or less. Time is of the essence when a worker has been exposed to a corrosive material. The longer the material sets in, the more dangerous the injury becomes. More than one station may be necessary to ensure multiple workers can wash their eyes at the same time. Employers can set up signs to direct workers to the nearest eyewash station, though not being able to see clearly is a strong possibility. Everyone working with or near these substances should know where to find the station and be trained on what to do in case of exposure.
Some stations come with a pedal for dispensing the water. The user should stand in front of the station and hold both of their eyes open. The water should wash over the eyes for at least 15 minutes. The user should roll their eyes to let the water reach the entire surface. Both eyes should be washed even if only one is believed to be exposed.
Workers should never touch their eyes or try to remove an object from their eyes with their hands. Anyone exposed to corrosive material should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
OSHA requires employers to supply eyewash/shower stations if a person’s eyes or body is exposed to an injurious corrosive material. The station must be available for immediate use. The ANSI also specifies that the station should be able to provide a flow of 75.7 liters (about 20 gallons) per minute at a minimum. For portable stations employers can use replacement flow cartridges to keep the water flow at the adequate rate. The worker should be able to flush their eyes or skin without injuring themselves in the process.
All workers must be fully trained on how to use the eyewash station and shower equipment, so they can disinfect themselves as soon as they have been exposed to hazardous substances.
Find the eyewash supplies and equipment your business needs to comply with these requirements. Contact the team at PK Safety today to learn more about the different types of protective eyewear and how to set up eyewash and shower stations.