Eyewash stations are only required by OSHA in specific instances, and those instances are discerned through a review of the material safety data sheets (MSDS) for the chemicals being used.
If an MSDS indicates that first aid response to an eye exposure requires flushing for 15 or more minutes, then you are looking at an eyewash station. Anything less than 15 minutes, no eyewash is required.
If you remove the chemicals in question (generally caustics or corrosives), then you have eliminated the risk, so the eyewash station becomes little more than a nicety. If you don’t need eyewash stations, your resources are better used elsewhere.
If you cannot remove the chemicals, then you have to be able to demonstrate how you manage the chemicals, which includes emergency response capability, such as eyewash stations.
In such cases, arguing against eyewash use to an inspector or surveyor can become a slippery slope in terms of best practices.
Many people are familiar with ANSI’s Z358.1 eyewash standard, which OSHA references but doesn’t mandate compliance with. However, ANSI’s standard is recognized industry guidance. So the question then becomes: If one could consider using the ANSI standard as a best practice for maintaining eyewash stations, what compelling evidence or data do you use to determine an approach different than ANSI’s?