|FAQ - Regulatory - Archived Through 2012
Eyewash stations with faucets that turn upward, can they be considered an eyewash station?
Because dental offices utilize materials deemed hazardous (refer to each chemical/dental materials MSDS) offices must be equipped with emergency eyewash stations for use by all employees including handicapped employees who may be exposed to injurious materials.
OSAP can provide you with general information concerning eyewash station requirements as they relate to OSHA”s Hazardous Communication Standard (Hazardous Chemicals).
In addition, if the practice is located in a state with a state operated OSHA there may be additional eyewash requirements that OSAP would not be aware of. Therefore, the practice should also contact their state OSHA, if applicable, for specific eyewash station requirements in their state.
States without state operated OSHA plans must adhere to Federal Standards. OSAP would like to refer you directly to the Federal OSHA Standard that applies to emergency eyewash stations.
Based on ANSI requirements, it should be noted that the employee (who may be partly blinded by chemicals in the eyes) should be able to reach and use the eyewash equipment within appproximately10 seconds. If an employee accidentally turned on hot water to the emergency eyewash equipment it could result in further injury to the eyes, therefore, the eyewash should be a style, or installed in a manner, that by-passes the hot water line. The employee should be able to simultaneously flush both eyes. In addition, each eyewash station location should be designated by a sign/poster.
This national consensus standard provides details on emergency eyewash and shower equipment. The basic requirement is to have emergency showers and eyewashes within 10 seconds travel distance of a hazard.
This requires that flushing fluids shall be tepid. make sure that supplied water temps are in the range of 60°-90° F. Personal eyewash equipment ,such as squeeze bottles, do not meet the requirements of plumbed or self-contained eyewash equipment. Make sure units meeting ANSI Z358.1-1998 are within 10 seconds of travel time from hazard time.
ANSI Z358.1-1998 EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATIONS:
Eyewashes:.4 GPM for a minimum of 15 minutes
Nozzles protected from airborne contaminants provide flushing fluid to both eyes simultaneously at a velocity low enough to be non-injurious. Simple operation: "off" to "on" in 1 second or less.
Height from standing surface 33" to 45".
Nozzles located 6" from nearest wall or obstruction
Minimum operating pressure: 30 psi.
Hands-free operation once activated.
A log shall be maintained and posted by eyewash stations indicating testing date and individual.
Because of the wide variety of eyewash equipment, OSAP would not be in a position to determine whether or not an eyewash station meets all of the requirements. However, we can provide you with the following additional information and resources.
Paragraph (c) of OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) Standard 29 CFR 1910.151. The OSHA requirements for emergency eyewashes and showers, found at 29 CFR 1910.151(c), specify that "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." As the standard states, an eyewash and/or safety shower would be required where an employee's eyes or body could be exposed to injurious corrosive materials.. OSHA refers to the requirements with respect to highly corrosive chemicals contained in the American Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment ANSI Z358.1-1998. (1)
OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.151(c) is available at:
According to OSHA, while not having the force of a regulation under the OSH Act, the current ANSI standard addressing emergency eyewash and shower equipment (ANSI Z358.1-2004) provides for eyewash and shower equipment in appropriate situations when employees are exposed to hazardous materials. ANSI's definition of "hazardous material" would include caustics, as well as additional substances and compounds that have the capability of producing adverse effects on the health and safety of humans. ANSI's standard also provides detail with respect to the location, installation, nature, and maintenance of eyewash and shower equipment. (2)
If OSHA inspects a workplace and finds unsuitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body, a citation under 29 CFR 1910.151(c) would be issued. When determining whether the eyewash or shower facilities are suitable given the circumstances of a particular worksite, OSHA may refer to the most recent consensus standard regarding eyewash or shower equipment, which would be the 1998 version of ANSI Z358.1, as well as other recognized medical, technical and industrial hygiene sources. (2)
Because OSHA utilizes the ANSI standards for emergency eyewash requirements, OSAP would like to refer you to the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). These standards are copyrighted, however, you may obtain copies of these standards by contacting ANSI at:
American National Standards Institute, Inc.
11 West 42nd Street
New York, New York 10036
Phone: (212) 642-4900
(1) The Occupational Safety & Health Administration: http://www.osha.gov
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has posted resources for dentistry at:
(2) The Occupational Safety & Health Administration: Standards Interpretation: