OSHA requires that employers provide emergency eyewashes when employees may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials during the course of their work under 29 CFR 1910.151(c), “Medical Services and First Aid.” Employers have a wide range of eyewash types available to choose from on the market, including portable units (i.e., eyewash bottles). While bottles are used by many employers, OSHA says that they can’t be the only eyewash made available to employees and their use should be limited.
The OSHA standard does not provide a great deal of detail on eyewashes for employers. However, where the regulation is silent, OSHA refers employers to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard Z358.1-2009, “Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment,” regarding installation, operation and maintenance of emergency eyewashes. This includes capacity and flushing requirements. The ANSI standard states that an eyewash must deliver 0.4 gallons of flushing fluid per minute for at least 15 minutes.