Changes to the Emergency Eyewash Station Standard ANSI Z358.1 2009

OSHA is the regulatory agency that specifies when and where emergency eyewash stations are needed. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to developed standards to specify the performance and use of eyewash equipment. OSHA refers to ANSI Z 358.1 for compliance purposes. 

OSHA General Industry Standard for Medical services and first aid, 1910.151(c) states the following: 

“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”. 

The standard adopted by OSHA for emergency eyewash stations (ANSI Z358.1) was initiated in 1981. It was revised in1990, 1998, 2004 and again in late 2009. The standard covers not only eyewash stations, but drench showers or combination showers in the workplace as well. They also apply to pump and gravity fed eyewash stations. 

Listed below are the latest compliance changes to the standard highlighted in blue.  

·        Water temperature requirement referred to as “Tepid” 

The water temperature for the flushing fluid in an eyewash station must be tepid.  Tepid is now defined in ANSI Z 358.1 as being between 60º and 100ºF. (16º-38º C).  

In order to maintain a consistent temperature, thermostatic mixing vales may be used to ensure a consistent temperature for the eyewash or shower. 

·        2 or more component units.  

The revised standard addresses the use of the two components of the unit both individually and simultaneously meaning that the eyewash component and the shower component need to be individually certified.  When the unit is turned on, neither component can lose water pressure due to the activation of the other component in use at the same time.   

·        Older equipment update requirements.  OSHA will reference the most recent standard and if a unit is not updated or replaced to comply with the new standard, the employer can be cited.   

·        Flow rate Flushing fluid should rise to 8 inches in height. A testing gauge can be placed on the eyewash nozzle to determine compliance. A gauge should be used for the annual inspection as well.  

The American National Standards Institute and OSHA Standards for General Industry 1910.151(c)