Emergency Eyewash Safety

Follow these guidelines to make sure that you will have a working emergency eyewash available when you need it!

  • Make sure that everyone who works in the lab knows where the emergency eyewash and shower are located and how to use them.
  • Test the eyewash weekly by running the water for at least 3 minutes. This will ensure that there is sufficient water flow and no sediment build-up in the plumbing lines.
  • Check any eyewash bottles weekly for the expiration date. Discard any opened bottles.
  • Let Facilities Management know your eyewash is not working by using the work order system.
  • Always use protective eyewear* when working with chemicals.

Chemical Splashes

In case of a chemical splash to your eyes:

  • Immediately flush skin or eyes with water. DO NOT RUB!
  • Hold your eyelids open with your hands and roll your eyes while using the eyewash to be sure water reaches the eyes and under your eyelids.
  • Keep your eyes in the water stream for 15 minutes.
  • Don’t let contaminated water run into the non-contaminated eye.
  • Immediately wash off even small amounts of chemicals.
  • Get medical assistance immediately following flushing.
  • If possible, continue flushing while on way to medical help.
  • Know the effects of chemicals with which you are working. Read, ask questions about and understand safety data sheets for each chemical with which you work. Bring the SDS with you when going for medical help!
  • Know how to help others reach showers or eyewashes and how to help them get medical assistance.
  • Report all chemical contamination incidents immediately:

*Use chemical splash goggles when working with corrosive liquids, chemicals with an “eye” hazard or a “SKIN” designation. Safety glasses are good for incidental exposures but will not protect from splashes. Use a face shield with chemical splash goggles under shield when pouring corrosives greater than 1 liter or filling/dispensing liquid nitrogen. Contact EHS for more information on protective eyewear or other lab safety issues.

Use the Eyewash Checklist during regular inspection of your eyewash stations.