Eye Wash Stations: Competing StandardsPosted on September 07, 2010 by James Griffin
Q. According to OSHA, the chemical we manufacture is not a corrosive hazard. But our internal Material Safety Data Sheets say that if you should get the chemicals in your eye, you should wash the eye out for at least 15 minutes under running water. Is our company thus required to have an eyewash station for our employees?
A. The short answer is probably no. According to OSHA rules at 29 CFR 1910.151(c), eyewash stations are needed if “…the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials…” So if your materials are not “injurious corrosive materials,” as indicated on the MSDS for each product, then an emergency eyewash station would not be required.
It is important to note, though, that the current ANSI standard for eyewash stations, although not enforceable by OSHA rules, tends to be more stringent. Under that standard, eyewash stations should be available when employees are exposed to “hazardous materials,” which include not only corrosives but any additional substance or compound that has the capability of producing adverse effects on the health and safety of humans. The standard also has more detailed instructions on how to install and place eyewash stations. [ANSI 2358.1-2004]