The ANSI standards for eyewashes can be found in ANSI Z358.1 2009 Revision. In the United States, OSHA refers to these important standards when reviewing safety shower compliance. Many other governments, around the world, do the same. Below you will find a short list of the most important ANSI standards for eyewashes.
- Eyewash valves must open in 1 second or less and must remain open until manually closed.
- An Eyewash must deliver .3 gallons per minute.
- Eyewashes must be located within 10 seconds (55 feet) of any potential chemical accident.
- Access to Eyewash must be unobstructed. Locked doors are considered an obstruction.
- Eyewashes must be located on the same plane as the hazard.
- Eyewashes must provide Potable Water.
- Eyewashes must provide the required spray pattern.
- Eyewash pressure must be non-injurious to the user.
The 2009 revision of ANSI Z358.1, added two important ANSI standards for eyewashes to which compliance is critical.
- Water provided for treatment in Eyewashes must be in the “tepid” temperature range. This temperature range has been defined by ANSI as between 60°F and 100°F (15.6°C and 37.8°C).
Colder temperatures are known to present an obstacle to use, since many accident victims may find less than 60°F temperatures too cold to tolerate for proper treatment. Often, with cold water eyewashes, the accident victim will start treatment with the intention of staying the required 15 minutes and finds some immediate pain relief, only to be unable to tolerate the cold temperature. Usually the victim quickly stops treatment and then tries again when the pain from the chemical burn becomes too intense to bear. This procedure is often repeated a number of times resulting in a very inadequate first aid treatment.
Water over 100°F can cause damage to sensitive eye tissues and, in some cases, can accelerate corrosive chemical interaction with skin and membranes.
- The second key standard added to ANSI Z358.1 in the 2009 revision is the requirement that the safety shower and the eyewash operate within spec simultaneously.