The OHSA Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.15(c) states that when a facility has corrosives on-site, it is required that a shower station or eye wash station must be available. However, OSHA defers to the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) Z358.1 standard for the requirements of all portable eye wash stations, and emergency shower stations.
ANSI at a glance:
- Eye wash stations and emergency showers should be available in accessible locations, 10 seconds from the hazard.
- Eye wash stations and emergency showers must deliver 15 minutes of constant flow.
- They should have an on/off valve, pull-strap or door that activates the wash with one single motion.
- They must be clearly visible and identified with a sign.
Plumbed or Portable
Changing work environments, accessibility concerns, and plant layout all factor in when deciding which style to buy. Plumbed eye wash stations can sometimes be an expensive option to install and cannot be relocated with ease; they are a very reliable choice. For most companies, a portable eye wash or emergency shower is the right choice. The self-contained eye wash stations can be moved closer to workers if needed and provide added flexibility to today’s dynamic work settings.
Cost and Maintenance
A plumbed eye wash station or emergency shower requires ANSI-mandated weekly activation to verify proper operation and flush any buildup that may have accumulated. Without weekly maintenance, bacteria, sediment and mold can form in the plumbing.
Mixed concentrate stations are known as Tank Style Portable eye wash stations and rely on a mixture of tap water and a preservative. The mixture usually needs to be changed every six months; the units must also be cleaned and refilled in accordance with manufactures instructions. These can be referred to as portable eyewash systems.
A cartridge-based eye wash station uses factory-sealed fluid cartridges and do not require the use of tap water. Some eyewash stations could have a shelf life of two years without having to be changed and is roughly four times that of normal eye wash stations.
There are two available flushing solutions; tap water and sterile solutions.
- Tap Water – Plumbed wash stations utilize tap water and most experts agree that tap water has the potential to increase damage to an injured eye, since tap water is not bacteria free.
- Sterile Solutions – these are sealed cartridges, which require no mixing or measuring and are filled though a sealed process in a clean environment and use purified water. The solution has a shelf life of two years until it needs to be changed.
Check out our customer resource center for more information on eye wash stations and emergency showers.