Eyewash Buyer Guide

How to Purchase the Right Eye/Facewash Safety Station in 3 Easy Steps

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1970 to ensure safe and healthful working conditions in facilities across our country. OSHA fulfills its responsibility by inspecting workplaces and issuing consequences that range from citations to monetary penalties or even facility shut-downs.

OSHA’s requirements for emergency eyewash stations and showers can be found in standard 29 CFR 1910.151(c), which states, “where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use.”

For additional clarification, employers regularly look to the voluntary American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z358.1-2014 Standard for Emergency Eyewashes and Shower Equipment. ANSI Z358.1 guides users when selecting and installing the proper equipment to satisfy the requirements of OSHA.


Here are some helpful tips to consider:

1. Plumbed or Portable?

PORTABLE equipment offers the flexibility needed in dynamic work settings.

  • Does not require permanent plumbing connections.
  • Versatility - can be moved if the locations of hazards and workspaces change.
  • Available in pressurized (job site versatility) or gravity-fed (easily moved within the facility) models.
  • Gravity fed can be wall-mounted, mobile cart mounted, or bench-top mounted, while pressurized units are compliant when resting on the ground.

Portable units must be treated with a bacteriostatic solution that keeps the potable water free from bacteria. The treated water needs to be changed every six months and refilled to ensure clean and safe flushing of the eyes.

Permanently PLUMBED units become reliable safety fixtures in your facility.

  • Installed with the facility’s plumbing or connected to existing supply lines.
  • Incorporate stay-open valves that do not shut off unless manually overridden according to ANSI standards.
  • Available in a variety of materials options and price points.
  • Mounting options include wall-mounted, pedestal, faucet-mounted, deck-mounted, and more.

ANSI standards require the flushing fluid to be between 60 and 100 degrees fahrenheit. To ensure that your flushing fluid reliably remains within the appropriate range, a thermostatic mixing valve can be used to accurately blend cold and hot water.




2. Eyewash or Eye/Facewash?

An EYEWASH station will be sufficient if the hazards are limited to airborne particulate matter that could injure the eyes only.

  • Washing pattern designed to address the eyes only.
  • Constructed so the heads are positioned 33-45” from the floor.
  • Eyewash units will deliver 0.4 GPM tepid flushing liquid for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  • Units activate in one second or less and will remain activated (hands free) until manually shut off.
  • Options include mounting, materials, finishes, accessories, and more.
  • All ANSI Z358.1 compliant units must be installed and maintained in accordance with the standard to ensure continued compliance.


An EYE/FACEWASH station is appropriate when the hazards include corrosive chemicals that could injure both the eyes and face.

  • Washing pattern designed to address the eyes and face.
  • Constructed so the heads are positioned 33-45” from the floor.
  • Eye/facewash units will deliver 3 GPM tepid flushing liquid for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  • Units activate in one second or less and will remain activated (hands free) until manually shut off.
  • Options include mounting, materials, finishes, accessories, and more.
  • All ANSI Z358.1 compliant units must be installed and maintained in accordance with the standard to ensure continued compliance.


3. Placement and Maintenance


Even a unit that is ANSI Z358.1 compliant out of the box can fail an injured employee if the unit is PLACED improperly.

  • The equipment is required to be located at a maximum of 10 seconds, or 55 feet, away from the hazard. In the first 10 seconds after the injury occurs, it is vital to begin emergency treatment.
  • The unit must be reachable without any obstructions, including stairs, ramps, and doors, in the path of the injured worker.
  • The station must be located in a well-lit area that includes a highly visible sign.


Even a unit that is ANSI Z358.1 compliant out of the box can fail an injured employee if the unit has not been properly MAINTAINED.

  • All units should be activated weekly to ensure proper operation.
  • Treated potable water in portable units should be changed according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • All eyewash equipment should be inspected annually to verify continued compliance with ANSI standard Z358.1.
  • All employees should be thoroughly trained in the requirements and use eye/facewash safety stations