Eyewashes Cause Eye Infections?

Eyewashes Cause Eye Infections?

Eyewashes can injure the eyes if the water is allowed to stagnate. OSHA issued a reminder about flushing and cleaning eyewash stations. Listen for details.

Eyewashes_Cause_Eye_Infections-Creative_Safety_Supply-250x250It seems crazy that eyewashes could HURT the eyes. In this podcast, Dan Clark explains how it can happen with systems that are not maintained.

Hear about flushing self-contained units and plumbed systems. Dan also warns that those sealed saline water bottle systems need care.

See the transcript below for links to OSHA’s InfoSheet, and the ANSI standard on emergency eyewashes.


Eyewashes_Cause_Eye_Infections-Creative_Safety_Supply-250x229intro music and effects

Dan Clark: Eyewash stations can become stagnant tanks of yuck. OSHA says the flush that stanky bacteria on a regular basis.

Hi, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, tackling health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites, compliments of Creative Safety Supply. Get to creativesafetysupply.com and use coupon code BIG10 to save yourself 10%.

Emergency eyewash stations can become infection hazards. OSHA just issued an InfoSheet—a reminder—that eyewashes need to be maintained.

Seems a little weird, doesn’t it? Injuring eyes is the opposite of what they’re supposed to do. But stagnant water is a natural habitat for bacteria and other creepy things.

Eyewashes_Cause_Eye_Infections-Creative_Safety_Supply-250x293Let’s look at the three types of eyewash stations:

1. SELF CONTAINED UNITS. OSHA says they have to be flushed periodically, according to manufacturer instructions. When temperatures increase, the tank will probably need to be flushed more often. And don’t use soaps and solvents. Use only solutions appropriate for flushing eyes.

2. PLUMBED EYEWASH STATIONS. They need to be run weekly for a full 15 minutes to keep the supply line clear of sediments and microbes. This is spelled out in the ANSI standard Z358.1–2014, which also states the system should be inspected annually.

Eyewashes_Cause_Eye_Infections-Creative_Safety_Supply-250x3323. SEALED BOTTLE EYEWASH STATIONS. These units, with factory sealed containers of sterile saline solution, need to be maintained. Those bottles of saline have a shelf life of three years or less and need to be replaced as they expire.

Eyewashes are designed to flush hazardous chemicals out of a person’s eyes with fresh water. They’re needed in work areas with chemicals. OSHA’s requirements for eyewashes vary by industry and the chemicals used, but, generally, have these things in common:

1. The station must be installed where hazardous materials are used. That may mean having more than one eyewash at the site.

2. Instructions must be posted in hazardous areas. All staff should be given appropriate training.

Eyewashes_Cause_Eye_Infections-Creative_Safety_Supply-450x3253. Workers must know how to find the eyewash. The area near the station must be obvious and free from clutter.

And remember, the eyewash is a last resort. Workers should be wearing appropriate PPE whenever they handle chemicals. Protective equipment is the first line of defense. An eyewash is the last. Make sure it’s ready to be used by flushing and maintaining on a regular basis.

That’s all for this episode, Eyewashes Cause Eye Infections? Come back for more ways to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, a service of Creative Safety Supply. Save 10% off your entire order at creativesafetysupply.com with coupon code BIG10.


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