Each year, there are over 800,000 eye injuries on job sites. Of those, 36,000 require time off of work to recover. According to Prevent Blindness America, 90% of those injuries could have been avoided by following basic safety procedures.
Don’t become part of a horrible statistic. Instead, take steps to avoid unnecessary OSHA eye injuries by properly training your workers and using safety equipment like eye protection, eye wash stations, and emergency showers.
Who Should Rent Eye Wash Stations & Emergency Showers?
OSHA and ANSI regulations require eye wash stations and emergency showers in any workplace where corrosive and dangerous chemicals are used. These include, but are not limited to, acids, bleach, formaldehyde, and insecticides. At sites like these, your employees must have immediate access to eye wash stations and emergency showers to quickly flush out or rinse away these chemicals.
While these measures aren’t legally required at sites where corrosive chemicals aren’t used, many other work sites can benefit from them. For example, dust, dirt, and other particles can be highly irritating and even damaging to the eye. Having a quick and sanitary way to wash them away can prevent more severe injuries that might result if the worker is left to simply rub their eyes.
Eye Wash Stations – Proper Use
An eye wash station can save your sight in an emergency, but only if you know how to use it properly. Therefore, all employees should familiarize themselves with the locations of eye wash stations and understand how to use them should the need arise.
First, it’s crucial to avoid delay. Every moment that a caustic chemical remains in contact with your eye, the damage increases. ANSI requires eye wash stations to be no further than 55 feet from workstations with corrosive chemicals.
Activate the Station
Once you’ve reached the eye wash station, activating it should be simple. Most models require a single pull of a lever to get the water flowing from the unit. Now that the water is flowing, you don’t need to hold down the lever or do anything else to the eye wash station. The water will keep flowing for a minimum of 15 minutes.
Rinse First, Contacts Second
Use your fingers to hold your eyes open and begin flushing your eyes out. Gently roll your eyes up and down and side to side to make sure you’re getting water on as much of your eyeballs as possible. If you’re wearing contact lenses, only stop to take them out once you’ve begun flushing. While it is a crucial step, you should start flushing immediately.
Rinse for 15 Minutes
Even if you’re no longer in pain after a few seconds, you must keep rinsing your eyes for the full 15 minutes. This is the minimum amount of time required to get everything off of your eyeballs. If you stop short, you risk permanent injury.
Seek Medical Attention
After the full rinse is complete, you’ll need to go to a hospital and have your eyes checked. Have a co-worker drive you even if you think your vision is fine. While a thorough rinse should remove any chemicals from your eyes, only a medical professional will know if the chemicals damaged your eyes or if additional steps need to be taken.
Emergency Showers – Proper Use
In the event of a corrosive or damaging chemical spill on your skin or clothes, you will need to follow similar procedures. Often the same station will double as an eye wash and emergency shower.
Again, don’t waste time getting to the emergency shower. Every second that the chemicals remain on your skin, the more damage they can do. Find the nearest emergency shower (again, ANSI requires them to be no farther than 55 feet from the chemicals) and activate it.
You’ll need to remove all of your clothing and jewelry before getting rinsed off. While this can certainly be embarrassing, it’s essential. This is because chemicals can soak into clothing and be held against your skin even as you try to wash them away. In addition, some chemicals will react in the presence of metal, such as some types of jewelry, and cause even more damage.
Rinse for 15 Minutes
As with the eye wash station, you need to remain under the stream of water for the full 15 minutes to ensure all chemicals have been washed away. Again, for your safety, fight through the cold water and discomfort of being undressed, or you may end up with permanent injuries that could have been prevented.
Texas Outhouse Has Your Safety Solution
We offer combination eye wash/emergency shower units for use on your next job site. We carefully maintain the integrity of each unit, ensure full compliance with OSHA and ANSI requirements, and we’ll work with your schedule for delivery, maintenance, and pickup.
Don’t leave the safety of your workers to chance. Take a look at our convenient, self-contained models, and contact us when you’re ready to make arrangements for your job site.