Is Your Eye Wash Machine Filled with Stagnant Water?

Did you know that stagnant water in eye washes can cause infections? An updated resource from OSHA emphasizes the importance of maintaining emergency eyewash stations so the water does not become contaminated and lead to infections.

Eyewash stations are used in workplaces where chemical irritants or biological agents can cause eye injuries. The ANSI standard for eye washes requires the units to be able to deliver “tepid flushing fluid” to both eyes at a rate of no less than 0.4 gallons per minute for 15 minutes.

Stagnant water in stations may contain organisms than can cause infections when they come in contact with the eyes or skin or are inhaled. Infections can result in vision loss and lung diseases.

Plumbed eyewash systems must be activated on a weekly basis to ensure compliant operation and to clear any sediment.  For maintenance of self-contained eyewash stations, employers should consult the instructions from the manufacturer, however, it always depends on the brand of water preservative that is mixed in with the tap water. You might get 90 days or up to 6 months, depending on the preservative used. If you use a “fluid cartridge” style unit, these typically get two years between change-outs (provided an employee did not need to activate the eyewash).

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