Proper safety eyewear such as safety glasses, goggles or face shields are critical in the prevention of eye injuries. Determining the needs and which type, should always be assessed for each job or task, and used as it is decided. This step alone can eliminate around 90% of occupational eye injuries.
However, there are times when dust, shavings, chemicals or other small particles may still get into the eye. When this happens, it is important to remain calm and act quickly. Eyewash stations can serve as the initial first-aid treatment.
Eyewash stations differ in type and style. Whether plumbed in or portable, become familiar with the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions for use. Ensure that all employees know how to correctly use the unit available to them and where they are located.
How to use an eyewash station:
- Remember to flush the eye for fifteen minutes
- Although the water temperature may feel cold, hold the eyelids open while water flows over them
- Move eyes all around during the wash to ensure that all areas of the eye are being cleansed
- Rinse both eyes and remove contact lenses if worn
Tips to Remember:
- Do regular inspections to ensure that the eyewash stations are clean and easily accessible
- During training, review how to discharge the solution into the eyes
- The equipment should be protected from freezing if located outdoors or on a worksite
- There should be a clear path from the employee to the eye wash station with no obstruction
- The station should take no longer than ten seconds to access
Remember to act quickly when an eyewash is needed and do not rub the eyes or try to dislodge an object from the eye.