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Basic Guide to Eyewash Stations and Eyewash Station Signs

Basic Guide to Eyewash Stations and Eyewash Station Signs

Answers to common eyewash station questions & eyewash station signs

What are eyewash stations?

Eyewash stations contain both an eyewash sink and shower designed to flush chemicals from the eyes and face.  Any workplace holding hazardous materials, especially corrosive chemicals, is required to have eyewash stations to ensure safety. They are commonly found in places like hospitals, laboratories, and factories.

Eyewash stations look like a sink with two heads that point upwards with many small holes in them.  A yellow push lever on the side triggers the heads to spray 99% sterile water.  Located above the sink there is commonly a yellow eye shower.  It functions by pulling a lever down to release sterile water.  The sterile water helps to clear the eyes and body of whatever chemical exposure occurred.  

In some situations, eyewash kits are used for work outside or on the go. They look like green toolboxes, containers, or holsters that contain bottles of sterile water that can be sprayed into eyes or onto the body. 

Where are eyewash stations required?

Eyewash and eye shower stations are required by the IBC in Group I-2 occupancies and Group I-5 occupancies. Osha states in 29 CFR 1910.151(c) of its regulations that these stations are required in facilities “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”.  More importantly, taking care of personnel in event of chemical exposure should be part of any business that uses chemicals.  Cross training of personnel in how to use eyewash stations and how to help if someone is exposed should be conducted on a regular basis.  

What are the regulations regarding eyewash station signs?

ANSI Standard Z358.1-2004 states that eyewash and/or eye shower stations must be at accessible locations and reachable within 10 seconds. Additionally, it states that the station should be located on the same level as the hazard and be able to found as personnel scramble in a emergency.

The signs indicating its location should be highly visible and in a well-lit area. Ideally, one sign sits atop the location of the eyewash station or kits location, and other directional signs are dispersed throughout the facility as appropriate.  

What do eyewash station signs look like?

Most commonly, there are large green projecting signs stating “emergency eyewash station” with large white font. The size of these should be sufficient to be easily read across your facility.  A good rule of thumb is 1″ of letter height for each 10′ your target audience is away.  They also almost always have a picture of either an eye or face being sprayed with water.   The ADA requires braille signage for any permanent room or space.  In most cases this means that your eyewash station must also have a tactile sign similar to the one we offer here.

Eyewash station sign blue
Eye Wash Station Braille Sign

In addition to an ADA compliant sign, there are other options to consider in order to increase accessibility and safety. One is making the sign  3-D or have it protrude from a wall end, enabling people to locate it from many angles. To combat the dark, some of these signs are glow in the dark. Finally, it is practical but not required for these signs to be bilingual, further maximizing the reach of these signs.

Why are eyewash station signs important?

In a situation where someone needs to use the station, time is absolutely of the essence; employees could lose vision or see other damage to their body if they cannot locate it fast enough. Eyewash signage is for the safety and convenience of workers who submit themselves to those conditions, and it’s important that signage is updated and set up properly so they can reach it quickly and avoid injury. With scant legal requirements about the number, placement, and looks of the signs it is important that businesses still regard the functionality of eyewash stations and their indicating signage as important. When in a workplace where corrosive and dangerous materials are stored or used, employees expect to be reassured by the safety measurements taken in order to make things run smoothly and safely.