Eye Wash Stations: What Are They & How to Use

Most all warehouses and production facilities, especially those where employees are working around hazardous chemicals, have some sort of eye wash station. Eye wash stations are stations where people can wash out their eyes when they have been exposed to hazardous chemicals or substances. If this happens to you or someone at your workplace, you need to act fast and address the situation quickly.

Where should the eye wash station be located?

Whenever someone is working with dangerous substances, it is important that they know EXACTLY where the nearest eye wash station is located. It is a good idea to have employees practice finding the eye wash station blindfolded, because if they do get harmful chemicals in their eyes, they might not be able to see. The eye wash station should be in a central location. Employees should not have to walk through a series of doors to get to the station. Do not store objects in front of the eye wash station – there should always be a clear path.

Different Types of Eye Wash Stations

Standalone Eye Wash Station

Different facilities utilize different types of eye wash stations. If you have access to a water line, you can connect a standalone eye wash station to a pipe. These stations typically have a small bowl/sink with two faucet tips that spray water upwards into the face of the user. There will be a lever or a switch somewhere on the station that turns on and off the water.

Faucet Mount Eye Wash Station

Some facilities have eye wash stations mounted on the faucet of a kitchen, bathroom, or warehouse sink. These stations are also turned on by a switch or a lever that is separate from the hot + cold knobs that turn on the sink’s main faucet. When activated, water will shoot upwards out of the station so the user can easily put their face directly down into the flow of the water.

Wall Mounted Eye Wash Station

If you do not have access to a water line or sink, a wall mounted eye wash station might be the best option for you. These stations can be mounted directly onto the wall of a warehouse or office. In the body of the station is two large bags of water. Each bag is connected to a hose. To active, pull down on the front lever to lower the tray. Once the tray is lowered, water will flow out of the bag and through the hoses. The water will then shoot upwards from the nozzles connected to the ends of the hoses. The bags must be replaced after each use.


Eye Wash Station Kit

Having an eye wash station kit located near a sink is the most economical option. These are especially good for warehouses that do not work much with chemicals and do not have a frequent need for an eye wash station. Eye wash station kits come with 2 sterile bottles of eye rinse water. Each bottle comes with a nozzle attached to the top. To use, hold the nozzle directly up to your eye, lean your head back, and squeeze the bottle so the water flows smoothly through your eyes.


How to properly use an eye wash station

Make sure you understand how to properly activate the style of eye wash station available at your place of work.

  • Turn on the eye wash station to initiate the flow of water (or open the eye rinse bottle depending on the eye wash station at your disposal).
  • You should always remove contact lenses before wetting your eyes. Chemicals or dirt particles can get trapped within your contacts and the water will not be able to wash them out.
  • It is crucial that your eyes remain open the entire time you are washing them out. It is natural to want to close your eyes when they get wet, but they must stay open so the water can enter your eyes and flush out any hazardous substance. It can be extremely uncomfortable but it is far better than experiencing long term eye damage.
  • Do not rub your eyes. It is natural to want to rub them but rubbing them will only push the hazardous substances further into your eyes. This only increases your chances of doing permanent damage.
  • Flush out your eyes for 15 minutes. This might seem excessive, but it is better to be safe-than sorry. Even if your eyes start to feel better after a few minutes, you should stick with it for a full 15 to make sure everything is flushed out to the fullest extent.
  • Contact a doctor immediately. Even if you feel fine afterwards, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

What to do if your co-worker gets a hazardous substance in their eye?

If you witness a coworker get something in their eyes, you should do everything in your power to help.

  • Assist your coworker in making his or her way to the eye wash station. In some cases, the person exposed will have blurred vision or might not be able to see at all. Do your best to grab their arm or hand and guide them to the nearest eye wash station
  • Help your co-worker activate the eye wash station. This could be a traumatic time for them. They might not be thinking clearly. Even the simplest things can be difficult when you are in a high-stress situation.
  • Help hold your coworkers eyes open. It cannot be overstated how difficult it is to keep your eyes open while water is rushing through them.
  • Call 911 or poison control. Depending on the substance your coworker was exposed to, they might need medical assistance immediately. 911 & poison control operators can help walk you through any additional steps you may need to take. If they do need immediate medical attention, it is important that the ambulance arrives as soon as possible.

You should have all the necessary safety measures in place so that your eye wash station rarely needs to be used. Make sure all employees wear the proper PPE when dealing with hazardous chemicals. Always handle chemicals with care to prevent dangerous spills and splashes. If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out to a Benchmark Product Expert at 844-423-6246.