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emergency eye/face washes, OSHA/ANSI

emergency eye/face washes

American National Standards Institute

(ANSI) Standard Z358.1-2014 sets universal minimum performance and use requirements for all eyewash stations and drench shower equipment.

ANSI standard Z358.1-2014 says an eyewash station must:

  • Be accessible within a 10-second walk from the hazard
  • Be accessible without the need to walk up or down stairs, ladders, or cross any obstacles or roadways etc.
  • Deliver a 15-minute continuous flow of tepid fluid at 0.4 gallons per minute and be 60-100°F
  • Be located in areas where caustic or hazardous substances are present
  • Activate in one second or less and with one single motion
  • Be unobstructed
  • Be highly visible and identified with a sign

ANSI Z358.1
The OSHA regulation regarding emergency equipment is quite vague, in that it does not define what constitutes “suitable facilities” for drenching the eyes or body. In order
to provide additional guidance to employers, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has established a standard covering emergency eyewash and shower equipment. This standard—ANSI Z358.1—is intended to serve as a guideline for the proper design, certification, performance, installation, use and maintenance of emergency equipment. As the most comprehensive guide to emergency showers and eyewashes, it has been adopted by many governmental health and safety organizations within and outside the US, as well as the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) and International Plumbing Code (IPC). The ANSI standard is part of the building code in locations that have adopted the International Plumbing Code.

The ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014 establishes minimum performance, installation, use and maintenance requirements for eyewash equipment in the emergency situation under hazardous conditions.

Here are some of the most common causes for ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2014 non-compliance: missing dust covers expose nozzles to airborne contaminants, lack of proper signage on the equipment, poor lighting around the wash station, providing the improper equipment for the application (for instance, an eyewash instead of a face and eye wash), physical obstructions on the way to eyewash stations (a closed door), incorrect assembly of the unit parts (improper alignment of showerheads), lack of flow control to the eye wash, not providing the tepid water, insufficient water pressure and flow rate.

Statistics shows that the most common reason for non-compliance is the inability to maintain the required flow rate when both shower and eye/face wash are activated at the same time (a standard requirement since 2009).

Where to place your emergency eyewash station
According to ANSI standards, the following areas must meet emergency eyewash compliance guidelines:

Painting and solvent operations
Battery charging stations
Tool parts washers
Hazardous chemical storage
Chemical pumping and/or mixing areas
Anywhere you use a chemical that has SDS eyewash requirements

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