QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
Eyewash Stations – Water Temperature


Question:
Is there a standard related to monitoring the temperature for Eye Wash Stations?

Answer:
The Joint Commission Laboratory standard EC.02.04.03 addresses the inspection, testing and maintenance of laboratory equipment.  This would include the temperature of the water for eyewash stations.  For safety reasons there should be temperature checks to ensure the water of eyewash stations is “tepid”.

OSHA regulations (1910.1450 App A) address the requirement to have an eyewash station.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z358.1-2004), “Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment” and the 2009 Revision also address eyewash stations.

  • Water Temperature at Eyewash Stations (Plumbed):
    • ANSI standards (2004 and 2009 revision) recommend that the water temperature at eyewash stations should be “tepid”.  A specific temperature is not given for “tepid” water
      • Water temperature should be under 38 degrees C (100 degrees F) and above 15.5 degrees C (60 degrees F).  Temperatures higher than 38 degrees C (100 degrees F) are harmful to the eyes and can increase the chemical interaction with the skin and eyes.
      • Long flushing times with cold water (less than 15.5 degrees C [60 degrees F]) can cause hypothermia.  This may cause a staff member to not rinse or shower for the full recommended time.
  • The velocity of the water should be maintained as not to injure the staff member’s eyes.  Also, anti-scalding devices should be used on all eyewash stations.
  • Preventive maintenance should be performed every three (3) months or as needed to check for valve leakage, clogged openings and lines and adequacy of the fluid volume.
  • All testing and preventive maintenance should be documented and maintained in the Engineering Department.
  • If an eyewash station is in need of repair, staff members should be notified and a portable eyewash station should be obtained immediately.

References:
American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z358.1-2004, “Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment”; ANSI/ISEA Z358.1-2009 Revision

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Regulations (Standards – 29 CFR), National Research Council Recommendations Concerning Chemical Hygiene in Laboratories (Non-Mandatory) – 1910.1450 App A

Related Products from MCN:
OSHA Compliance Manual

About MCN Healthcare:
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