Environmental Health & Safety Eyewash Stations

Eyewash Stations

  • Emergency eyewash stations are needed when there is potential for an employee’s eye(s) to contact corrosives, strong irritants, toxic or skin-absorptive chemicals.
  • Flush the eyewash stations in your laboratory at least weekly. Submit a MyFacilities work request or call Facilities Operations for maintenance, 335-9000. Eyewash stations should provide a soft stream or spray of water no less than 1.5 liters per minute (0.4 gallons per minute) for at least fifteen minutes.
  • Laboratory personnel must be able to reach eyewash stations and/or emergency showers within ten seconds AND they must also be present within 50 feet of the employee’s work station. DO NOT BLOCK ACCESS TO THE EYEWASH STATION.
  • Because chemical splashes to the eyes may impair vision, laboratory workers should memorize the location and usage of all eyewash stations in their area. The presence of an emergency eyewash station does not replace the need for personal protective equipment.
  • When using an eyewash station, hold the eye lids open and flush eyes for at least fifteen minutes or according to the safety data sheet or available safety information.
  • Eyewash stations should be designed to meet the ANSI Standard. When actuated, the water delivery device should distribute water continuously without having to be held “on” or in the hand. This is to allow the injured person to use both hands to hold open the eyelids. Many laboratories on the WSU campus have drench hoses.  Drench hoses do not meet the ANSI Standard as an eyewash station. If the laboratory has a drench hose, the drench hose can be used as a supplement in case of an emergency; however, an ANSI approved eyewash should be installed as soon as possible.  Until installed, provisions should be made to always have two or more persons in the laboratory when working with chemicals that could damage the eye. One person can then assist the injured party by holding and directing the drench hose while the injured party is free to hold the eyelid open.
  • For additional information see Fact Sheets, Emergency Washing Facilities – Determining Need & Location, and Emergency Washing Facilities – Specifications, Responsibilities, & Training.
Washington State University