Eye Wash Station

Also Known As:

When working with dangerous chemicals, like chlorine and dry acid, immediate decontamination can mean the difference between a small or a serious injury. Eye wash stations allow for hazardous substances to be flushed from the eyes. Local jurisdictions dictate the requirement of eyewash stations and other emergency features at pools or spas.

There are two kinds of eye-wash stations: plumbed and gravity fed. Like a water fountain, a plumbed station is permanently installed to a water source. A gravity-fed station is a portable container that must be refilled after use. Gravity-fed stations have a limited shelf life, so care should be taken that the contents are not expired.

Flushing liquid can be one of the following: drinking water, preserved water, preserved buffered saline solution and other medically acceptable solutions. The temperature of the fluid should be between 60º and 100º F. For that reason gravity-fed eyewash stations should be stored in a cool area to avoid overheating the contents.

The eyewash station should deliver flushing liquid to both eye simultaneously. The user should be able to use their hands to open their eyelids, while keeping their eyes in the flow of flushing liquid. The station should be activated quickly, within 1 second, and remain activated automatically.

In case of contact with a hazardous substance, the eyes should be flushed immediately for at least 15 minutes. The flushing liquid should be delivered at a low pressure. This dilutes and washes away the substance but will not neutralize it. Flushing for at least 20 minutes is recommended, if the contaminant is unknown.

Emergency equipment like eye-wash stations should be located in accessible areas that are no more than 10 seconds from possible contamination areas. In addition, because the victim may have a loss of eyesight, the eyewash station should be unobstructed. Clear signage should be located near the station.

Eyewash bottles are supplements to eyewash stations, but they should not replace them. These can be difficult for the user to handle, do not permit the flushing of both eyes at the same time, and do not have a long shelf life.

Anyone handling pool chemicals should be trained to use the eyewash station on the premises. Written instructions should be posted near the station, and hands-on drills should be part of the yearly training process.