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Eye Wash Station and Emergency Showers - Design Criteria

What is the design and operational criteria for eye wash stations and emergency showers?

Any examples are for illustrative purposes only.

Eyewash stations and emergency showers are flushing devices required in locations where workers are handling injurious corrosive or caustic chemicals.  Any chemicals that have a pH less than 2.0 or greater than 11.5.  Common corrosive chemicals used in health care, include but not limited to; glutaraldehyde, formaldehyde, bleach and sodium hydroxide (caustic soda). 

These flushing devices are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  OSHA's requirements for emergency eyewashes and showers can be found in 29 CFR 1910.151(c): "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." OSHA refers employers to ANSI Z358.1-2014.

Requirements of this standard for an eye wash station include:
  • assembled and installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions
  • in accessible locations that require no more than 10 seconds to reach. The eyewash shall be located on the same level as the hazard and the path of travel shall be free of obstructions (no doors) that may inhibit its immediate use
  • located in an area identified with a highly visible sign positioned so the sign shall be visible within the area served by the eyewash
  • area around the eyewash shall be well-lit
  • connected to a supply of flushing fluid to produce the required spray pattern for a minimum period of 15 minutes, 1.5 liters per minute (0.4 gallons per minute)
  • flushing fluid is tepid, 16 to 38 degrees Celsius (60 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • if the possibility of freezing conditions exists, the eyewash shall be protected from freezing or freeze-protected equipment shall be installed
  • if shut off valves are installed in the supply line for maintenance purposes, provisions shall be made to prevent unauthorized shut off
  • The actuating valve once activated the valve shall remain open without requiring further use of the operator's hands (single action operation)
Reference standard EC.02.02.01 EP 5: The hospital minimizes risks associated with selecting, handling, storing, transporting, using, and disposing of hazardous chemicals.
Manual: Assisted Living Community
Chapter: Environment of Care EC
First published date: April 11, 2016 This Standards FAQ was first published on this date.
This page was last updated on October 25, 2021

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