Does My Workplace Need Eyewash Stations?
Eyewash stations are essential safety elements in many work environments. If your company deals with any sort of hazardous materials, chances are you need an eyewash station. To help you decide if this is a good investment for your business, we’ll answer the big question: “Does my workplace need an eyewash station?”
General Eyewash Station Guidelines
The American National Standards Institute sets guidelines for which businesses do and do not need eyewash stations. As a general rule, any business where employees or visitors can be exposed to hazardous materials needs to have an eyewash station nearby. What is defined as a “hazardous material”? It is not limited to caustic chemicals, it is anything that can adversely affect a person’s health and safety.
Most factories and laboratories should have eyewash stations on hand because workers have access to dangerous chemicals. A basic office building, like a law firm or real estate agency, would not require an eyewash station because there are no hazardous materials present.
Local Eyewash Station Laws
In addition to federal regulations, you also need to consider the laws in your area. Talk to a local representative for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to learn about guidelines you will need to follow. This will dictate the type of eyewash station you get, where it is placed in your building, and how easy it is to access. The local regulations should align with federal laws.
If You Have to Ask, You Probably Need One…
As with any safety device, it’s better to have it than not. The fact that you’re reading this suggests that you run a business that encounters hazardous materials. Even if that only happens on occasion, you need to have a place for employees or visitors to wash their eyes during an emergency. Eyewash stations do not take up much space, and they can significantly reduce health risks in your facility. It’s a worthy investment from every angle.
According to OSHA, the employer must determine if employees can or will be exposed during the course of their duties to hazardous materials in such a way that the protections of an eyewash or emergency shower would be necessary. That squarely places the burden on the company. They also broadly define what constitutes a hazardous material, which again, falls to the company to determine their risk.
The Cost of NOT Having an Eyewash Station
Unfortunately, about half of businesses that require eyewash stations (according to ANSI guidelines) do not have one in their facility. This could lead to a series of legal fines, and it may even shut down your business. OSHA reports they issue citations to companies that did not have an eyewash in near proximity to employees. Outside of legal fees, you may also need to pay worker compensation, medical expenses, pain and suffering fees, etc. You will also have to adjust your staffing to make up for the time your injured employee takes off.
Types of Eyewash Stations
There are several types of eyewash stations including plumbed or portable. Both have advantages depending on where they will be used and placed. Portable units offer more flexibility in where they are located.
All of this can be avoided by getting a proper eyewash station for your business. WR Hardware has many eyewash stations and drench showers to suit your needs. We even offer portable eyewash stations for businesses that only require them on occasion. To learn more about these products or to get help in selecting the right one for your business, contact WR Hardware at 800-225-2517.