An emergency eyewash is the means by which to flush the eyes with copious amounts of water to minimize the harmful effects of chemicals and other substances when splashed or spattered into the eyes.
An emergency shower is the means by which to flush all or part of the body with copious amounts of water to minimize the harmful effects of chemicals and other substances when splashed or spattered onto the skin.
What are the consequences of not providing eyewash stations and emergency showers?
Failure to provide adequate flushing capability could result in irreversible damage to the eyes or skin due to corrosive substances or occupational illness due to absorption or penetration of a harmful substance.
What can I do to protect myself?
Employees should familiarize themselves with the location of the nearest quick drenching facilities. Employers should check quick drenching facilities regularly (e.g., weekly for eyewash stations) to ensure adequate flow and function.
What resources are available to assist employers?
Safety and Health Programs
This example personal protective equipment (PPE) hazard assessment can be downloaded and customized to fit an individual workplace. Employers are required to perform a workplace hazard assessment to determine what personal protective equipment is necessary to protect employees from continued exposure to identified hazards.
Training and Outreach Services
In addition, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video services) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC).
A-Z Safety and Health Topics
The consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.
Which standards apply?
OSH has adopted the following standards which are applicable to eyewash stations and emergency showers in North Carolina. Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic.
29 CFR 1910.111 - storage and handling of anhydrous ammonia
29 CFR 1910.124 - general requirements for dipping and coating operations
29 CFR 1910.151 - medical services and first aid
29 CFR 1910.261 - pulp, paper and paperboard mills
29 CFR 1910.262 - textiles
29 CFR 1910.268 - telecommunications
29 CFR 1910.1003 - 13 carcinogens
29 CFR 1910.1030 - bloodborne pathogens
29 CFR 1910.1048 - formaldehyde
29 CFR 1910.1052 - methylene chloride
Maritime, Marine Terminals
29 CFR 1917.95 - other protective measures
Other Applicable Standards
The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can also help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite.
Where can I learn more?
Operational Procedure Notice 143, Suitable Facilities for Drenching or Flushing the Eyes or Body, establishes the enforcement policy and provides an explanation of the requirements of applicable standards to ensure uniform enforcement.
Industry Guide 48 - OSHA Construction Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training, provides requirements for construction standards related to eyewash stations and emergency showers in construction.
Industry Guide 49 - OSHA General Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training, provides requirements for general industry standards related to eyewash stations and emergency showers in general industry.
Industry Guide 54 - OSHA Marine Terminal Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training, highlights the requirements of standards related to eyewash stations and emergency showers at marine terminals.
If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 919-707-7876.