Federal OSHA recently issued an updated resource on properly maintaining eyewash stations in the workplace, addressing the issue of potentially contaminated source water in eyewash stations. Stagnant water or untreated water is more likely to contain hazardous organisms that can damage the eye or skin, or cause systemic infection.
Federal OSHA requires emergency eyewash facilities be accessible in locations that require no more than 10 seconds for the injured person to reach. Plumbed or self-contained eyewash equipment must meet the requirements of sections 5, 7, or 9 of ANSI Z358.1-2014, Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment. Water hoses, sink faucets, or showers are not acceptable eyewash facilities. Eyewash stations must be plumbed for each eye, to provide lukewarm water.
Having eyewash stations mounted onto sinks are acceptable, as long as the eyewash station is able to be activated hands-free (arms are ok) and remain flowing without requiring the use of the hands. Water flow must be at a certain pressure (minimum is 1.5 gal/min), and have direct free access with no barriers. Also, it is important to ensure that hot water could not accidentally be turned on to the unit; the water delivered must be in the range of 65 F to 95 F.
Regular maintenance of eyewash stations is required. Employers should consult with manufacturers of the eyewash stations for specific instructions regarding how often and how long to activate their eyewash stations to reduce microbial contamination.
Since 1992, OSHA Review, Inc. has provided dental professionals with comprehensive programs to support regulatory compliance and infection control. We are a registered dental continuing education provider in the state of California, specializing in Dental Practice Act, infection control, and OSHA training.