Non-compliance with emergency eyewash safety standards is a serious issue in today’s workplace. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), this lack of compliance contributes to a reported 2,000 injured U.S. workers each day. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that eye injuries lead to 37,000 missed days of work and more than $300 million per year in related costs.

Part of the problem is that many companies simply do not understand the need for emergency eyewash stations in their facilities. Employers need to be proactive and take the proper steps to ensure compliance before an accident occurs. Compliance begins with proper understanding of the regulations.

Do you know what is necessary to meet the ANSI Z358.1-2004 standard? Take this eyewash quiz to see if you know what it takes to be compliant.

1. Eyewash stations must be within a 15-second walk of the potential hazard.
a) True b) False
The correct answer is False. Eyewash stations must be within a ten-second walk of the hazard.
 
2. According to ANSI, how frequently should you activate plumbed eyewash stations to flush away build-up in the pipes and to ensure proper operation?
a) Yearly b) b) Monthly c) Weekly d) Biweekly
The correct answer is Weekly (the unit must run for a period long enough to flush away build-up in the pipes and to ensure proper operation).
 
3. Which of the following situations/hazards require the use of an eyewash station capable of delivering 15 minutes of uninterrupted flushing?
a) Battery charging operations b) Painting & solvents c) Saw dust d) Tool parts washers
The correct answer is False. Eyewash stations must be within a ten-second walk of the hazard.
 
4. If it is unknown whether a 15-minute device is required in your facility, the best place to find the information is in the ANSI standard.
a) True b) False
The correct answer is False. Each chemical by law must be accompanied by an MSDS. The first-aid section of the MSDS will define whether a 15-minute flushing device is a requirement.
 
5. It is ok for the eyewash station to be located up one stair from the hazard?
a) True b) False
The correct answer is False. The eyewash station must be located on the same level as the hazard.
 
6. There are two types of eyewash station options available: plumbed and portable.
a) True b) False
The correct answer is True.
 
7. Portable eyewash stations can be further classified as:
a) Connected to a source of water c) Contain water mixed with a preservative
b) Contain their own flushing fluid d) Can use a sealed fluid cartridge
The correct answers are B, C and D. Portable units are not connected to plumbing pipes.
 
8. Cartridge-based eyewash stations only use fluid that is a mixture of tap water and a preservative.
a) True b) False
The correct answer is False. These are factory-sealed cartridges that do not require any mixing with a preservative or measuring of tap water.
 
9. The primary regulation for eyewash is ANSI Z358.1-1998.
a) True b) False

The correct answer is False. The standard for emergency eyewash was updated in 2004.
Be sure you have the updated version.

 
10. It is your responsibility to ensure that eyewash units shall deliver what temperature of flushing fluid?
The correct answer is Tepid. This requirement was written into the 2004 revision of the ANSI Z358.1-2004 standard. Tepid in temperature means that the flushing solution must not be less than 60°F and not more than 100°F.


Finding help

How did you score? Hopefully you got 100 percent correct and, therefore, have a facility that is in total compliance. However, the reality is that many facilities are not 100 percent correct when it comes to meeting guidelines for emergency eyewash stations. Don’t worry; there is plenty of help available to get you compliant quickly. For instance:
American National Standards Institute (www.ansi.org) offers: The International Safety Equipment Association (www.safetyequipment.org) can assist you in finding help related to: the ANSI standards; manufacturing companies/distributors to purchase product; resources to meet compliance.

OSHA (www.osha.gov) offers helpful reference information and materials.

So, while there is a lot to know and do to meet the ANSI Z358.1-2004 standard, many resources are available to help. The equipment manufacturer, distributor, ISEA, ANSI and OSHA all want to help make sure that you and your workers are protected. Be sure your company meets the latest standards to minimize eye injuries and avoid financial hardship from noncompliance.