Emergency Washing Equipment. Eyewashes and emergency showers. Developed by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) November, 2009. Topics Covered. Chemical eye and skin hazards Personal protective equipment Emergency washing standard Eyewashes Emergency showers
Eyewashes and emergency showers
Developed by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) November, 2009
The first 10 to 15 seconds after exposure to a hazardous chemical, especially a corrosive chemical, are critical. Delaying treatment, even for a few seconds, may cause serious injury.
Emergency showers and eyewash stations provide on-the-spot decontamination. They allow workers to flush away hazardous chemicals that can cause injury.
Emergency showers can also be used effectively in extinguishing clothing fires or for flushing contaminants off clothing.
Eye damaged by corrosive liquid
Strong Irritants –
Toxic Chemicals –
Chemical loading stations
Chemical mixing areas
Pesticide mixing & loading stations
Anhydrous ammonia (gas)
Industrial cleaning chemicals
For other chemicals, check material safety data sheets for chemical properties and eyewash recommendations.
Emergency washing equipment may be needed, depending on the chemical.
Check the product MSDS to see if it is corrosive or otherwise damaging to the eyes or skin.
Dip tanks and plating tanks often contain corrosive liquids. Eyewashes and sometimes emergency showers are usually needed.Dip Tanks & Plating Shops
Note: First aid and emergency washing facilities are still needed when splashes, spills or releases can occur.
pesticide closed mixing system
The type of glove required depends on the kind of chemical. The following are recommended for most chemicals::Chemically Resistant Gloves
Latex - only for corrosives
Link to chemical glove selection guideNote: this link refers to farm chemicals, but applies to all chemicals
Goggles are required when handling corrosive liquids
Face shields are recommended for highly corrosive chemicals
No!!! Both are needed.
PPE can prevent injury, but is not fail-safe.
Emergency washing facilities are used to treat or minimize injury when PPE fails or when employees fail to wear it.
These gloves found at plating shop where acids, caustics, and cyanide solutions were used were found to have pinholes.
Poor housekeeping and improper glove care resulting in chemical getting inside these gloves.
Click on graphics above to link to core rule or ANSI
Where emergency washing facilities are
needed, they must be readily available and
accessible as follows:
Note: The travel distance to the eyewash or shower should be no more than 50 ft.
Employees handled concentrated bleach and caustic detergents.
Consider this scenario: a worker splashes bleach into the eyes, runs to the eyewash, bumps into barrels, leans over obstructions and hits head on ledge, only to find that this eyewash was not hooked up to water!Obstructed Eyewash Example
for an employee’s eyes to be exposed
to corrosives, strong irritants, or toxic
eyes simultaneously and allow the
user to hold the eyes open with both hands.
second and remain open.
Inadequate water flow on this eyewash – the left nozzle is not working
This nozzle is just a spray hose and does not meet ANSI standards
Portable eyewashes can be used where there is no plumbing.
Must meet same standards as plumbed eyewash.
Must contain at least 6 gallons of water.
Make sure they meet ANSI standards.
One gallon reservoir is not sufficient as primary eyewash.
This unit also has insufficient flow rate.
Can be used as an auxiliary eyewash only.
Mostfaucet-mounted eye washes
are intended to be supplemental equipment.
Some units do not meet the
provisions of ANSI Z358.1 for eyewash
since it takes two steps to activate them as illustrated.
Some manufacturers have recently offered faucet-mounted eyewashes that meet ANSI standards.
These units should only be used only with cool or warm water to prevent scalding.
1. Turn on water
2. Pull knob
Water temperature should be moderated to prevent additional harm from scalding or hypothermia.
Most people cannot tolerate flushing their eyes with ice-cold water for 15 minutes.
Any temperature compatible with extended flushing is O.K.
Emergency washing equipment is rarely used since emergencies by definition are rare events.
On the rare occasion it is needed, a worker’s eyesight can be saved.
The employee with corrosive liquid splashed in the eye will often need help in finding the eyewash and in keeping his eyes open for 15 minutes.
A short training for all at-risk workers should be done – where equipment is located and how to use it.Using Emergency Washing Equipment
hoses must be activated weekly and inspected annually.
inspected and maintained according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Checking an emergency shower
In 2007 & 2008, 300+ companies were cited for either a lack of emergency eyewashes or showers, blocked access to the emergency equipment or lack of maintenance.
Every type of business was cited, from restaurants to auto dealers to fruit packing warehouses..
Over 70% of these were cited as “serious” violations which typically include monetary penalties..
More information on emergency washing equipment
is available on the DOSH webpage at:
For additional assistance, you can call one of our consultants. Click below for local L & I office locations: