If your business works with chemicals, it’s a good idea to have emergency eyewash stations located throughout your property.
In the event that a caustic chemical is accidentally splashed into a worker’s eyes, it can save their eyesight. It could even make the difference between life and death.
There are eight essential steps to properly using an emergency eyewash station. Training your employees on these steps will make your operation safer and minimize your risk.
Step 1 — Go Immediately to the Eyewash Station
When chemicals are splashed into the eyes, every second counts. Even if there is no immediate pain or irritation, it is essential that the injured employee head immediately to the nearest eyewash station.
Ideally, an eyewash station should be located with 10 seconds of any employee who works with chemicals.
Step 2 — Push the Lever and Activate the Eyewash Station
Emergency eyewash stations are designed to be used by people who can’t see. They typically have a single lever that can be activated with one single motion.
As soon as the lever is pushed, dust covers should pop off and the flushing liquid should begin to flow immediately from the faucet heads.
Step 3 — Flush the Eyes
The injured worker’s eyes need to be directly under the stream of flushing fluid. Even if it is painful, keep the liquid flowing over the eyes to remove as much of the chemical as possible.
Step 4 — Hold the Eyes Open
Using your fingers, hold your eyelids apart so that the maximum amount of flushing fluid can flow over the eyes.
Eyewash stations are designed to remain running so that injured workers can use both hands to perform this step.
Step 5 — Roll Your Eyes
To ensure that all of the eyes are flushed with the fluid, roll your eyes from left to right and up and down.
Step 6 — Flush Eyes for a Minimum of 15 Minutes
In order to fully dilute the chemical and wash it out of your eyes, keep your eyes under the running water for at least 15 minutes. Anything less than that is not enough to ensure that the chemical is removed.
Step 7 — Remove Contact Lenses
If you wear contact lenses, it’s important that they are removed while you are flushing.
The chemical agent can become trapped under the contact, preventing it from being removed during flushing.
Step 8 — Seek Medical Care
After you have flushed, seek out medical care to ensure that nothing more needs to be done to save your vision. If there are other injuries or the eye injury is severe, have a co-worker call 911.