Ask the expert: Blood exposure and eyewash station checks

By: March 16th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Q: We have no corrosive chemicals in our work area that would require an emergency eyewash station under Medical Services and First Aid, 1910.151(c), but we have the units for blood splashes to the eyes. Can we dispense with the weekly testing?

A: Whether used for chemical exposures or blood splashes to the eyes, plumbed emergency eyewashes still need weekly checks, as established by the American National Standards Institute (Z358.1).

In short, while plumbed eyewash stations are not necessarily required for blood exposures (see the July 2011 Medical Environment Update, p. 3), once you make stations available to employees for use, you would need to keep them in compliance, and that includes weekly checks.

Comments

By Patricia Beilke on March 20th, 2012 at 8:39 am

You say “plumbed emergency eyewashes still need weekly checks”. Does this hold true for self-contained stations with containers of sterile fluid that are designed to run for a 15 minute wash also? Running these will make them ineffective if needed because there will not be adequate fluid for the wash.

By Mark Petrone on March 20th, 2012 at 8:43 am

I’m under the impression that the ANSI standard Z358.1 is only a recommendations for weekly flow checks of eyewash stations, therefore it’s not mandatory and monthly checks of these systems can be established. Please clarify the need for weekly flow of these devices.

By Bruce Cunha on March 20th, 2012 at 9:02 am

I agree with Mark. In this interpretation letter http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=24119

OSHA makes it clear that they recommend employers use ANSI Z358.1, but state that it was not adopted as part of the OSHA reg and therefor is not required.

Saying that, it is really a good idea to flush the pipes and assure systems are operating properly for an eye wash on a routine basis.

By Steve Schwenke on March 20th, 2012 at 9:17 am

Weekly checks helps ensure that the system is fuctioning properly (temp and pressure), and helps keep down the possible build up of bacteria in less than fresh water.

By PJSimonian on March 20th, 2012 at 9:49 am

EXPERT: BLOOD EXPOSURE AND EYEWASH STATION CHECKS: You say “plumbed emergency eyewashes still need weekly checks”. Does this hold true for self-contained stations with containers of sterile fluid that are designed to run for a 15 minute wash also?
If a check needs to be made…I would suspect that it is similar to a fire extinguisher check…to ensure it is in good condition, the seal has not been broken , etc. Thank you for your expert advice and any references you can provide!

I requested clarification on weekly checks from Fed OSHA and was referred to my state (California) for clarification and under California §5162. Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment. (e) Maintenance. Plumbed eyewash and shower equipment shall be activated at least monthly to flush the line and to verify proper operation. Other units shall be maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

If this area has a risk for a blood exposure, there must be disinfectants in the area to clean up the spill. Many disinfectants are corrosives, although they are not thought of in this manner. Many offices would just use bleach and water to disinfect the spill area and bleach is definitely corrosive.

 

Leave a Comment

*

« | Home | »

Subscribe - Get blog updates via e-mail

  • test
  • HCPro Broadcast Events Calendar

hcpro.com