Eyewash Standards & Regulations Overview
In many workplace environments, it's impossible to eliminate an employee’s risk of accidental particulate or chemical exposure. However, you can protect your workers through education, training and with personal protection equipment (PPE) needed to prevent or respond to workplace accidents. Emergency Eyewash Stations and Drench Showers are a necessary component of a comprehensive safety program.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates U.S. safety standards and laws, while the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) develops product performance standards for safety equipment. It's important to note that OSHA has developed a vague safety standard for eyewash equipment needs, but commonly adopts the ANSI Z358.1-2014 Eyewash standard for the enforcement of safety laws.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created as a result of the Occupational Safety and Health act of 1970. The law was created to help further protect employee safety while providing “safe & healthful working conditions”. OSHA’s primary Eyewash standard, 29 CFR 1910.151 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.”
OSHA provides additional regulations for battery charging stations in 29 CFR 1926.441(a)(6) “Facilities for quick drenching of the eyes and body shall be provided within 25 feet (7.62 m) of battery handling areas”.
Depending on your facility and your type of business, OSHA inspections can be scheduled on a regular basis or may be conducted randomly without prior notice. Inspections are also common as a result of an accident within the workplace. If a violation is found during an OSHA inspection, the consequence may range from a warning, monetary fine or even a plant shut-down.
Joint Commission (JCAHO) for Health Care Facilities
Health Care Organizations remain committed not only to patient safety, but to protect their workers from harmful exposure to chemicals, bodily fluids, and bloodborne pathogens. Joint Commission is an independent, non-profit organization that certifies and accredits over 17,000 hospitals, laboratories, surgical centers, ambulatory care centers, long term care facilities, and more.
The Joint Commission 2009 EC Standard for Hospitals requires: "The hospital takes action to minimize or eliminate identified safety and security risks in the physical environment". Furthermore, hospitals are required to "Minimize risk associated with selecting, handling, storing, transporting, using, and disposing hazardous chemicals". Surveyors commonly refer to OSHA requirements and the ANSI Standard for further guidance on best demonstrated practices, equipment performance, and testing standards.
Canadian Provincial Eyewash Regulations
While Canada does not have specific Eyewash & Drench Shower regulations in place, they commonly refer to the ANSI Z358.1 standard for guidance