OHS Canada Magazine

The Importance of Eyewash Station Maintenance and Monitoring

December 14, 2016
By Clark Seif Clark

Many different types of industries are required to install and maintain eyewash stations for their employees’ safety and health. These eyewash stations are an important safety device that can be instrumental for mitigating a number of different types of eye injuries.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) reports that work-related eye injuries cost more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses and workers’ compensation in the United States. Eyewash stations, whether permanently connected to a source of potable water or having self-contained flushing fluid, can help save workers’ eyesight and reduce costs associated with eye injuries.

However, eyewash stations require proper maintenance, or they may present health hazards that can worsen or cause additional damage to a worker’s eye. According to OSHA, water found in improperly maintained eyewash stations is more likely to contain microorganisms that thrive in stagnant or untreated water and are known to cause infections.

“When an incident occurs and a worker uses an eyewash station that is not maintained, organisms that could be in the water can come into contact with the eyes, skin, or may even be inhaled,” said Franco Seif, President of Clark Seif Clark (CSC). “A partial list of microorganisms that OSHA reports could contaminant an improperly maintained eyewash station include acanthamoeba, legionella and pseudomonas aeruginosa. A worker using an eyewash station after exposure to a hazardous chemical or material may have eye injuries that make the eye more susceptible to infection. In addition, workers with skin damage or compromised immune systems are at an increased risk of developing illnesses from contaminated water.”

To help prevent these scenarios from occurring, CSC offers eyewash-station monitoring and microbial-pathogen-testing services. They also provide a wide range of other industrial hygiene and occupational health and safety services. To help educate people about eyewash stations and potential microbial risks from improper maintenance, CSC recently sponsored an educational video that can be seen at https://youtu.be/Nb9XdcO1cZk.

With headquarters in Chatsworth, California, Clark Seif Clark (CSC) was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address environmental, IAQ and health and safety issues. A leading provider of these services, CSC believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real-estate professionals.

Print this page