- OSHA Healthcare Advisor - http://blogs.hcpro.com/osha -

Eyeing emergency eyewash stations: An OSHA training tip

Your coworkers pass by emergency eyewash stations dozens of times per day. Unfortunately, they might look upon them with unknowing, blind eyes.

To prevent actual blindness in an emergency situation, coordinate a brief, informative tutorial on how to use these safety stations.

Begin by having your staff members pretend to injure one eye,  and then make them locate the wash station using their other eye. A partner can be assigned to assist the vision impaired by clearing any obstacles the victim might trip over and to help activate the eyewash station.

Once at the station, your staff members should familiarize themselves with how to activate the controls to initiate water flow.

Make sure the station does not create powerful thrusts of water directly to the eye, as it will push the contaminants further into the eye, making it more difficult to cleanse.

A steady, moderate-speed stream—the American National Standards Institute recommends a flow rate of at least 1.5 liters per minute—should be focused at the base of the nose. This direction will rinse the eye from the inside to the outside corner, letting the whole eye flush out any particles.

After staff members are comfortable using only one eye, practice the scenario of temporary blindness in both eyes, using the same techniques.

For more on emergency eyewash safety, see the documents under the Hazard Communication heading on the Tools page [1].