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Emergency Eyewash Technical Information

Shop All Eyewash Stations & Drench Showers
Basics of... Emergency Eyewash Stations & Drench Showers

The Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR 1910.151) states, "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."

This regulation is enforced by OSHA, who typically relies on uniform National Standards for guidance, when conducting facility inspections. The National Standard for Emergency Eyewashes and Drench Showers is ANSI Z358.1-2009 and it establishes uniform minimum performance and use requirements for Emergency Eyewash and Drench Shower Equipment and supplemental products.

The main criteria specified in the ANSI Standard that is most useful to Facility Maintenance Managers, Safety Directors, Purchasing Agents or others at a company location is as follows: Emergency Eyewash Stations & Drench Showers…

  • Should be within 10 seconds from a hazard exposure area. This equates to approximately 50 - 100 feet from each hazard
  • Should be placed at the same level as the hazard with a clear unobstructed pathway to the equipment
  • Should have a highly visible sign on or near the equipment to designate location and have adequate lighting in the area so equipment is easy to find
  • Requiring a plumbed water supply should be tested weekly to ensure proper operation and to clear the supply line of sediment build-up and minimize microbial contamination. Weekly testing should be documented on an inspection tag that is affixed to the equipment
  • Is intended to be used for 15 minutes when exposure has occurred. The water supplied to the unit should be "tepid" or lukewarm to avoid risk of scalding or hypothermic shock. Any equipment that does not have the ability to provide drenching relief for 15 minutes is considered supplemental only

Selecting the Right Emergency Drench Shower & Eyewash Station for Areas with Hazard Exposure Potential Present:

Areas with highly caustic chemicals that could affect the eyes, face and body should install a Combination Drench Shower with Eyewash. Such areas include:

  • Battery Charging Stations
  • Chemical Processing and Storage Areas
  • Transportation Areas that involve Hazardous Materials or Waste
  • Decontamination Applications such as Bio-Terrorism

Areas with a high level of airborne particulates and/or chemicals present that could affect the eyes only should install an Eyewash Station. If minimal exposure to chemicals is present that could affect other parts of the body, a supplemental drench hose can be added to the Eyewash Station. Such areas include:

  • Machine Shops (welding/grinding applications)
  • Parts Washer locations
  • Janitors Closet (where cleaning chemicals are used and stored)
  • Laboratory that has limited space and drainage capabilities

Areas where freezing conditions exist should install Heat Traced or Frost Proof Emergency Eyewash and Drench Shower Equipment. This will eliminate the risk of pipes freezing and equipment malfunctioning in the Eyewash or Drench Shower Station. Areas include:

  • Chemical Tank Farms - located outside
  • Waste Treatment Ponds
  • Chemical Processing/Storage - located outside
  • Transportation of Hazardous Materials (railroads, trucks, aviation)

Areas that are remote and do not have a plumbed water supply available should install Portable Self-Contained Eyewashes to include Gravity Fed or Pressurized Units. Such areas include:

  • Construction Sites
  • Law Enforcement
  • Jet Fueling applications
  • Agriculture Operations (pesticide spraying, etc.)

Areas with limited space, and are not conducive to installation of Emergency Drench Shower or Eyewash Equipment, or require minimal removal of hazardous materials, can use supplemental eyewash products such as Drench Hoses, Personal Bottle Eyewashes or Sprays, prior to reaching equipment that drenches for 15 minutes.

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