How To Use An Emergency Eye Wash Station

 

wall mounted eyewash station steel

 

Any workplace that uses chemicals with the potential to cause harm to human health should be prepared for the worst eventuality. Although chemical accidents are rare, knowing how to use equipment such as an emergency eye wash station has the potential to save your sight, or someone else’s. There are three different types of eye wash stations: floor mounted, wall mounted and bench mounted. Assess the work environment and decide on the eye wash station that best suits your company’s needs.

Each eye wash station should be in an easily accessible place within 10 seconds of the hazard and should be activated with a single motion in one second or less. Depending on the layout of the room, it may be necessary to install more than one eye wash station. Choose a brightly coloured eye wash to ensure it is clearly visible from all parts of the room. When turned on, there will be a continuous 15 minutes of water flow at a tepid temperature.

The S200 COSHH Essentials: Harm via Skin or Eye Contact can be used by employers to comply with the regulations that govern the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health. The guide details how exposure can be controlled through pre-planning: minimising the handling of dangerous substances, providing clean washrooms with skin care creams, communicating the risk to workers and providing eye protection where there are splash risks.

There are three main types of eye wash stations, but it is up to you to determine which would best suit your company’s needs:

Bench mounted eye wash stations

Bench mounted eye washes are perfect for labs where space is at a premium, or where there is a small number of staff. They are ideal for mounting on a lab bench or counter top for easy access when working with chemicals in laboratories.

Floor mounted eye wash stations

Floor mounted eye washes are large, easy to use and easy to see. Their robust body and dual spray heads ensure that the eyes are flushed with a continual supply of water. Place the floor mounted eye wash indoors or outdoors – they are perfect for large spaces and are simple to operate by using a foot pedal or valve lever.

Wall mounted eye wash stations

Wall mounted eye washes are flexible – able to be used indoors or outdoors. They are available with a dual spray head so that both eyes can be flushed at the same time. It is also possible to have an eye wash with a hose, which is operated with a trigger, making it perfect for schools or universities where a trained teacher will be able to assist the casualty.

 

tired construction worker

Using an emergency eyewash station in the event of an accident

When trying to minimise a chemical eye injury, speed is of the essence. The longer the eye is in contact with the chemical, the more damage it can do. For maximum efficiency, install an emergency eyewash station as close to the work area as possible. Train every worker fully on how to operate it, ensuring full comprehension.

In the event of chemicals getting into your eyes, you should:

Go to the emergency eyewash station immediately

Don’t panic – simply signal or shout for assistance. Getting your colleagues attention means that they can help you to operate the eyewash and clean your eyes or call the emergency services.

Push the lever to activate the unit

Flush out the eyes for a minimum of 15 minutes. If you have clean hands, hold your eyes open as wide as possible to let water reach all areas around the eye. If your hands are not clean, a colleague can help you.

Remove contact lenses

You shouldn’t try to remove any contact lenses you are wearing right away, instead, wait until you’ve already washed your eyes out for 15 minutes and then remove them and continue washing.

Keep flushing

Once activated, the unit will stay on for ease of use. Roll your eyes around so that water can reach all areas around the eye.

After flushing

Seek immediate medical help after the exposure and initial eye wash to follow up on treating your eyes.

Where Are Eye Wash Stations Required?

A trace heated and insulated solution for outdoor emergency shower and eyewash usage
An Emergency Eyewash Station

In terms of the damage that harmful chemicals can cause to workers in a laboratory, commercial, or industrial environment, eye damage is among the most likely to occur.

The eyes are vulnerable, protected only by eyelids and lashes and touched often, most of the time unconsciously.

In environments where workers are in regular contact with chemicals that can cause irritation, damage, or blindness through exposure to eyes, it is essential that emergency eye wash stations are available.

What is an emergency eye wash station?

Emergency eye wash stations are specially designed water fountains that enable easy access to eye washing.

They are created with efficiency in mind and direct a soft flow of water straight to the eyes, making it simple for injured individuals to completely rinse their eyes with minimal effort required.

They can provide irrigation when dust, irritants, or chemicals get in the eyes, and it’s recommended that they are used for 15 minutes to properly clear the affected area of contaminants or until suitable medical help arrives.

Where are eye wash stations required?

The requirements for emergency eye washes and showers laid out by HSE in 29 CFR 1910.151(c) says:

‘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.’

As per the safety shower and/or eyewash station requirements, safety showers and emergency eye wash stations must be installed where an employee’s eyes or body could be exposed to harmful corrosive materials.

Common industries where you would find dangerous corrosive materials include certain types of manufacturing plants, chemical processing factories, scientific laboratories, disinfection or chemical cleaning plants, healthcare facilities and commercial kitchens.

The best way to tell if a place of work requires an emergency eye wash station is to carry out a risk assessment by reviewing the safety data sheets (SDS) of all chemicals that are used in the environment and assessing whether an extended eye wash would be required in case of an emergency.

What types of eye wash stations are there?

Our eye wash stations come in three forms: bench mounted, floor mounted, and wall mounted.

Bench mounted eye wash stations are perfect for laboratories where they can be located on the same surface as the potentially dangerous chemicals – completely minimising the time it takes to respond to an emergency. They’re available with and without sinks

Floor mounted eye wash stations are best for environments where there isn’t an option for permanent fixing .

Wall mounted eye wash stations are ideal for environments where space is at a premium. They can be extremely compact which means they can be located close to potential areas of risk (up to a maximum of 10 seconds away) without causing obstructions.

You can browse our full range of emergency washing devices to choose the ones that suit your workplace best, or contact us today to find out more about emergency eye wash stations.

wall mounted eyewash station steel
floor mounted eyewash station
wall mounted eyewash station