Washington State University
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 in the workplace (See SPPM 5.15 – Eyewashes and Safety Showers).
  • Flush the eyewash stations in your laboratory at least weekly by activating eyewash and dispensing water directly into a nearby drain or by collecting water in a bucket and pouring into a drain. Submit a MyFacilities work request or call Facilities Operations for at 335-9000 for eyewash maintenance. Common eyewash maintenance issues include missing/broken dust covers and clogged dispenser heads due to hard water, which results in increased water spray velocity that could be injurious to the eyes. 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 (10) seconds AND they must also be present within fifty (50) feet of the employee’s work station. *DO NOT BLOCK ACCESS TO THE EYEWASH STATION. Perform routine self-inspections to ensure carts, boxes, and trash/waste are not impeding eyewash access. Do not store items near eyewash stations that would create an additional hazard in an emergency (e.g. chemicals and/or glassware stored around eyewash stations can be broken during eyewash activation).
  • 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 with your fingers and flush eyes for at least fifteen (15) minutes or according to the safety data sheet or available safety information.
  • Eyewash stations should be designed to meet the ANSI Z358.1 Standard. When actuated, the water delivery device should distribute water continuously without the activating trigger/panel having to be held in the “on” position or in the hand. This is to allow the injured person to use both hands to hold open the eyelids. Many laboratories on WSU campuses have drench hoses.  Drench hoses do not meet the ANSI Z358.1 Standard as an eyewash station. If the laboratory has a drench hose, the drench hose can be used as a supplemental washing device in case of an emergency; however, an ANSI Z358.1 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 their eyelids open.
  • For additional information see the following Fact Sheets, Emergency Washing Facilities – Determining Need & Location, and Emergency Washing Facilities – Specifications, Responsibilities, & Training. See also DOSH Directive 13.00 Emergency Washing Facilities.