How an Eyewash Station Could Save Your Vision
Each year, eye injuries result in astronomical costs for industrial workplaces everywhere. In fact, occupational eye injuries cost an astonishing $934 million annually for employers. This is because an eye injury results in direct costs like lost production time, medical costs and worker compensation as well as various indirect costs.
The sheer expense of occupational eye injuries is reason enough to strive to ensure that all workplace personnel are protected from incidents like these. And one of the best ways to do so is to properly install eyewash stations throughout the workplace.
Here are some of the most essential things to remember when installing an eyewash station:
Plumbed vs. gravity-fed eyewash stations
There are two types of eyewash stations: plumbed and gravity-fed. Plumbed eyewash stations, as their name implies, are permanently connected to a source of water much like a normal sink’s faucet. Gravity-fed eyewash stations, in contrast, must be refilled with eye wash fluid after each use. The eye wash fluid in a gravity-fed eyewash station has a shelf life of two to six months, and must be replaced if it isn’t used. Plumbed eyewash stations don’t require any extra replacing or maintenance, but should be used once a week to prevent bacteria build-up.
Requirements and standards
OSHA’s regulations state that all forklift battery changing areas and other areas in which corrosive chemicals are handled must be equipped with an emergency eyewash station. According to its regulations, an eyewash station should be a 10-second walk away from mildly hazardous materials, and it should be within immediate reach when highly hazardous materials are involved. There should never be obstructions in front of the eyewash station that would prevent access to the station. Lastly, OSHA requires all eyewash stations be able to emit three gallons of water every 15 minutes when running.
Preventing eye injuries
About 2,000 workers across the country suffer an occupational eye injury that requires medical attention in an average day. This is a shocking statistic, considering about 90% of all eye injuries can be prevented entirely by wearing the right protective eye-wear. Most eye injuries -- approximately 70% -- are caused by objects or sparks striking the eye; about one-fifth of eye injuries take place as a result of chemical exposure. While accidents will still happen, the best way to keep personnel safe from eye injury is to require all personnel to wear OSHA-approved protective eye-wear.
With the right safety measures in place, your personnel can be safe from injury and eyesight loss even while handling dangerous chemicals and equipment.