While not a regulation, ANSI eyewash standard wields influence

Hospital Safety Insider, August 19, 2009

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What is “tepid” water? For the purposes of eyewash safety, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) defines it as between 60° and 100° F.
ANSI’s threshold--noted under its standard, ANSI Z358.1, Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment--is important because OSHA inspectors and Joint Commission surveyors rely on it to guide enforcement of eyewash station and emergency shower provisions.
According to several hospital safety professionals who shared information about their Joint Commission surveys with Briefings on Hospital Safety, achieving tepid water isn’t always easy, and their eyewash stations didn’t pass muster with surveyors.
Other typical eyewash compliance issues include the following, says Steven MacArthur, safety consultant for The Greeley Company, a division of HCPro, Inc., in Marblehead, MA:
  • Inadequate or not fully accessible eyewash and emergency shower facilities in areas where there are chemical exposure risks
  • Inadequate testing frequency (ANSI Z358.1 recommends weekly testing)
  • Failure to understand what level of eyewash and emergency shower services are required, which is dictated by information on material safety data sheets
Subscribers to the Hospital Safety Center can find more details in this month’s Briefings on Hospital Safety, including what The Joint Commission expects with eyewash stations.
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