You’ve probably grown accustomed to the eyewash in your workplace. But, if you had an eye emergency, would you really know how to use it? Train now.
Workplaces with chemicals that cause corrosion, severe irritation, or permanent tissue damage, or are toxic when absorbed, require an eyewash station. Safe work practices and personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves, coveralls, safety glasses, goggles, and/or a face shield prevent eye injuries.
If you have an eye emergency, notify a coworker right away. Have someone call 911. Get to an eyewash station immediately. The station should be within 10 seconds travel time, or 50 feet from where you use chemicals. Keep a clear pathway and ensure the station is frequently inspected and always accessible and clean.
Get help walking to the eyewash station from a coworker. Also practice alone. Practice walking with your eyes closed and/or your head down. Practice how you would activate the foot and/or hand lever to start the flow. Know that the water will keep flowing while you are using it. You can also use portable eyewash bottles until you get to the plumbed eyewash.
Hold your eyelids open while the water flows over the eyeballs. Roll your eyes all around so the water touches all of the surfaces and gets under the lids. Wash both eyes even if you think you only contaminated one. Remove contact lenses during the flushing. Consider wearing glasses instead of contact lenses when working with corrosive chemicals. Contacts may hold chemicals against the eye and cause further damage.
Don’t try to dislodge objects from your eye. Don’t rub your eyes. Continue flushing your eyes for 15 minutes or until emergency responders arrive and instruct you otherwise. Eyewashes are first aid only. Seek medical attention for every eye injury.