About OSHA regulations on eyewash inspections

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About OSHA regulations on eyewash inspections
Eyewash stations are covered by OSHA Standards 1910 and 1926. (eye image by Pali A from Fotolia.com)

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has standards for the placement of eyewash stations in areas where employees may be exposed to corrosive materials that could damage their eyes. However, the OSHA standards do not specify the time intervals or instructions for inspections of the eyewash station.

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The Standard

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 29 provides the standard which covers eyewash stations in the OSHA regulations. This CFR possesses two parts that relate to eyewash stations.

Part One

The first OSHA CFR 29 part is Part 1910 "Occupational Safety and Health Standards." Standard number 1910.151(c) states that, "Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use."

Part Two

The second OSHA CFR 29 part is Part 1926 "Safety and Health Regulations for Construction." Standard number 1926.50(g) states that, "Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use."

OSHA Limitations

These constitutes the extent of eyewash regulation by the OSHA. However, there is another regulatory standard which supersedes the OSHA standard when it comes to eyewash stations: the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment (ANSI Z358.1-2009).

ANSI Standards

ANSI Z358.1-2009 specifies the operating conditions of an eyewash station. A specifically eyewash station must produce a flow of 0.4 gallons of water per minute and a station that serves as both an eye and face wash system must produce three gallons of water per minute. The water should be between 15.6 and 37.8 degrees Celsius and the unit should stand on the same level as the hazard in a well-lit area. It should also possess a sign, and sit not more than ten seconds away from the hazard. Employees should be trained in the use of the eyewash.

Time Table

For inspection purposes, ANSI Z358.1-2009 states that workers should perform weekly activations of the eyewash and that the unit should be inspected annually. Inspections and checks should be documented.

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